Bo Bartlett (b. 1955 in Columbus, GA) received his Certificate of Fine Arts in 1981 from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and a Certificate of Filmmaking from New York University in 1986. In 2023, Bartlett received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art and The Honorary Certificate from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.
Bartlett has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at MOCA Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL; Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT; The Bo Bartlett Center, Columbus, GA; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; Weber Fine Art, Greenwich, CT; The Florence Academy of Art, Jersey City, NJ; Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI; and the Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL.
His work has been included in group exhibitions at numerous institutions including the Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; National Arts Club, New York, NY; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH, Linz, Austria; Austin Museum of Art, Austin, TX; Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC.
Bartlett’s work may be found in the collections of the Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA; Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, AR; Denver Museum of Art, Denver, CO; Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC; La Salle University Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA, and elsewhere.
Bartlett is the recipient of rewards and accolades including the South Arts Fellowship, South Arts, Atlanta, GA; Atelier Focus Fellowship, Chattahoochee Hills, GA; 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Pew Fellowship in the Arts, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia, PA; Museum Merit Award, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA; Museum Merit Award, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; and the Benjamin Lanard Memorial Award, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, among others.
The artist lives and works in Columbus, GA and Wheaton Island, ME.
Bo Bartlett: Earthly Matters at MOCA Jacksonville is reviewed by Tom Szaroleta for The Florida Times-Union.
Bo Bartlett's exhibition Earthly Matters travels to MOCA Jacksonville, on view 26 May through 10 September.
Cirque De La Vie, an exhibition of works by Bo Bartlett, is on view at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.
Reporter Jonathan Stringfellow interviews Bo Bartlett for Columbia University's, The Uproar.
Earthly Matters is on view at the Bo Bartlett Center through 28 April 2023.
Bo Bartlett's painting Hurtsboro has been acquired by the Gibbess Museum of Art in Charleston, SC.
Bo Bartlett: Earthly Matters is now on view at The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC.
Bo Bartlett in conversation with Brian Alfred.
"Bo Bartlett talks about this week’s cover, inspired by an experience he had in Maine, as well as his new feature film, his family and more."
Why are so many artists drawn to Maine?
"As the state marks its bicentennial, creative thinkers look to crashing waves, craggy mountains, and colorful seasons for inspiration."
Directed by Bo Bartlett and Jesse Brass, over the course of more than 15 years, Andrew Wyeth created 250 secret paintings. He hid them from everyone—including his wife, who was also his business manager—in the loft of a millhouse near his home in rural Pennsylvania. When they were discovered, in 1986, they generated a media frenzy that extended well beyond the art world. The Helga paintings, as they came to be called, all depicted a single subject: Helga Testorf.
Atlanta – South Arts, the nonprofit arts service organization advancing Southern vitality through the arts, has named nine visual artists to receive State Fellowship awards of $5,000 each. These nine artists are now in consideration for the Southern Prize, which includes an additional $25,000 cash award and a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. All nine State Fellows will be featured in an exhibit at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, South Carolina, from March 21 – May 5, 2019. The winner of the Southern Prize and a $10,000 Finalist award will be announced at a ceremony celebrating the State Fellows on April 15 at 701 CCA.
"We support artists of every discipline through our Focus Fellowship awards, nominated annually by our National Advisory Council — esteemed peers and experts in the field. Focus Fellowships provide the opportunity for individuals, corporations, and other organizations to directly support artists and their influence on building healthy, creative communities. Funders of these awards have the chance to name the fellowship and to work closely with AIR Serenbe to determine what kind of artists the fellowship will serve." —AIR Serenbe
New York Academy of Art is pleased to present:
Betsy Eby & Bo Bartlett in conversation with Alyssa Monks
October 10th 2018, 6:30pm
Bo Bartlett’s newest paintings at Miles McEnery Gallery balance the public and private spheres.
In 1807 William Wordsworth published a sonnet that could have been written yesterday. The World Is Too Much With Us today as it was then, perhaps even more so with 24-hour news providing information into conflicts around the globe and on our failure to be caring stewards of the world we live in.
Bo Bartlett brings the narrative painting tradition up to date, merging the historical with the personal.
Growing up in Columbus, Georgia, Bo Bartlett did what was expected of him every Sunday. He listened intently to the preacher, prayed hard and committed those weekly lessons in morality and righteousness to the deep recesses of his dutiful mind. He was a good son, and his Sunday routine at the Baptist church was pure joy.
Columbus artist Bo Bartlett put his hands in the praying position just below his chin and looked upward.
Thursday afternoon at the dedication of the new Bo Bartlett Center on the Columbus State University RiverPark campus, Bartlett was remembering those who were not with him to celebrate the moment.
The moment transpired in front of a 11 foot by 17 foot Bartlett work, entitled “Civil War,” painted in 1994.
The Bo Bartlett Center, an 18,500-square-foot interactive gallery space, was inaugurated at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia on Thursday, January 18. Located on the school’s River Park campus, the former textile warehouse turned arts center was designed by American architect Tom Kundig, owner of the Seattle-based firm Olson Kundig Architects.
The Bo Bartlett Center will be a 18,425 square foot interactive gallery space, housed on the River Park campus of Columbus State University. The red brick, former textile warehouse turned gallery space, designed by AIA award winning architect, Tom Kundig, sits on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Bartlett’s hometown, Columbus Georgia. As a cornerstone of the College of the Arts’ Corn Center for Visual Arts, The Bo Bartlett Center will be a pivotal element in the continued emergence of a national and international presence originally established by the College’s Schwob School of Music and its Legacy Hall. Complementing exhibitions in the CSU Department of Art’s acclaimed Norman Shannon and Emmy Lou P. Illges Gallery, The Bo Bartlett Center will serve as an experiential learning center and cultural hub for the visual arts while affording visitors a broad range of arts experiences offered within the College’s arts district.
by Carrie Beth Wallace
Columbus artist Bo Bartlett recently won the 2017 Gibbes Society 1858 Southern Contemporary Art Prize. The prize was sought after by over 200 artists throughout the Southeast.
Bartlett is widely recognized for his realist paintings. Notable ongoing local contributions include his art initiative for the homeless called Home is Where the Art Is, and the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University opening January 2018.
The artist recently corresponded with Sunday Arts reporter Carrie Beth Wallace to discuss his reaction to winning the award, his current projects, how he’s feeling about the impending Bartlett Center opening, and what he plans to do with the prize money in the future.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Born in Columbus, Georgia, Bartlett is acclaimed for his large-scale paintings that explore American life and cultural heritage. His realist style has been honed through extensive training, including a degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Bartlett’s work is included in numerous public collections including the Denver Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Seattle Art Museum.
by Bo Bartlett
Today, Andrew Wyeth would’ve celebrated his 100th birthday.
In 1991, I was 35 years old and coming off of a successful show at PPOW Gallery when on the next to last day of the exhibition art critic Roberta Smith wrote a negative review of the work in The New York Times.
I had a strict rule of not reading any of my reviews good or bad. But Wendy from the gallery encouraged me to go out and buy the paper and read the review, because, she said, I would need to “be aware of what people would be saying about the work.” Reluctantly, I did as my gallerist instructed. Although it stung, I didn’t really care about the review at the time. But, the following months shed a different light on the negative ramifications of bad press. Several scheduled articles dried up. Sales slowed to a trickle. I found myself in need of appreciation and resources.
by Chuck Williams
Columbus artist Bo Bartlett, known nationally for his realist works, is painting again.
But this time the canvas is different, even if the familiar backdrop of his hometown of Columbus is the same.
Bartlett, along with his wife and fellow artist Betsy Eby, is directing and producing a feature-length film — “Things that Don’t Stay Fixed.” It is being shot this month throughout Columbus.
It’s the biggest painting we have ever made,” Eby said.
The two are self-funding the ultra low-budget film that has paid lead actors and paid professional production crews.
ORLANDO, FLA.- The Mennello Museum of American Art is presenting the solo exhibition Bo Bartlett: American Artist. The exhibition, which runs through May 7, presents large-scale oil paintings that are figurative, psychologically imbued, beautifully rendered, and wonderfully sublime by one of the most significant American Realist painters of his generation.
Bo Bartlett is widely renowned for his multi-layered complex image making rooted in narrative, story telling, art history, literature, poetry, and every day life. Bartlett works in a long-established tradition in American painting that stretches from Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer to Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth. Like these artists, Bartlett looks at America's land and people to depict the beauty he finds in everyday life. His paintings celebrate the underlying epic nature of the commonplace and the personal significance of the extraordinary. Of Bartlett’s work, Andrew Wyeth wrote, “Bo Bartlett is very American. He is fresh, he’s gifted, and he’s what we need in this country. Bo is one of the very few I feel this strongly about.”
by Hind Berji
At first glance, Bo Bartlett‘s work doesn’t look like anything new. His large canvases are filled with the crisp realism of Edward Hopper, the small-town iconography of Norman Rockwell, and the vibrancy and luminism of George Caleb Bingham. Yet, Bartlett brings it all together to portray a fresh and complicated take on American life as he knows it. Organized by the Mennello Museum of American Art with an extension of four paintings at The Orlando Museum of Art, Bo Bartlett: American Artist features the seductive quality of oil paintings, which stems partly from his large canvases and polished aesthetic. His paintings are subdued with a warm light that looks like the most natural thing in the world—a fleeting, bittersweet, transitional light that falls on his characters.
By Matthew J. Palm
Waves crash. The skeleton of a huge ship rises through scaffolding. Fishermen haul in their catch. Shoreline plants take on a delicate purple hue.
These are images of Maine, and the Pine Tree State is at center stage in the latest exhibition at Orlando Museum of Art.
The Wyeths and American Artists in Maine” will be on view through April 23. It’s a chance to see works by three generations of the famed Wyeth family of artists — N.C., Andrew and Jamie — as well as others. The exhibit is also a chance to reflect, or learn about, the significance of that northern neck of the woods to the visual arts.
The exhibition presents large-scale oil paintings that are figurative, psychologically imbued, beautifully rendered, and wonderfully sublime by one of the most significant Realist painters of his generation. Bo Bartlett is an American realist with a modernist vision whose multi-layered narrative work falls within the tradition of American realism as defined by artists such as Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer to Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth. Like these artists, Bartlett looks at America's land and people to describe the beauty he finds in everyday life. His paintings celebrate the underlying epic nature of the commonplace and the personal significance of the extraordinary. Of Bartlett’s work, Wyeth wrote, “Bo Bartlett is very American. He is fresh, he’s gifted, and he’s what we need in this country. Bo is one of the very few I feel this strongly about.”
I had a great conversation with American figurative artist Bo Bartlett. Bo’s paintings have a deep emotional and spiritual impact. He’s been painting for the last 40 years and it shows. Bo is highly revered and his work is collected around the world in private collections and museums. This is a long conversation and as we got deeper into it Bo talked about his experience of life and death and the underlying philosophy of his work and life.
On the same block where Bo Bartlett’s first solo exhibition in New York opened 35 years ago, Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe is giving audiences a sneak peek into the much anticipated Bo Bartlett Center, set to open in Columbus, Georgia next fall. Journals, preparatory drawings, and palettes piled high with miniature cliffs of oil paint are just a glimpse of what Bartlett has donated to his center. The mid-career retrospective also features his latest work, along with his cache of props and ephemera, many of which are dutifully rendered in the works themselves. These freshly executed pieces hold fast to Bartlett’s endearing style of Realism with a curious twist. He proudly carries on the American lineage of Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and Norman Rockwell, but there is an oddity about his works that creates psychological pause within the viewer, and sets him apart from the Realist tradition. In response, the term Magic Realism is being revived.
By Peter Plagens
What’s a realist painter to do? The skill of rendering on a flat canvas convincing portrayals of three-dimensional space containing objects and human figures is fairly common, especially in an age when photographic and digital aids are not only readily available, but—at least since the advent of Photorealist painting in the 1960s—immune from accusations of “cheating.” The problem for the hard-core figurative painter is how to stand out from the herd—how to give the viewer something more than the feeling of, “Wow, that looks so real.”
Bo Bartlett at Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe by John Thornton
The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to present Truth & Vision: 21st Century Realism. On view October 22, 2016 – January 22, 2017, this exhibition surveys the state of representational painting at the beginning of the 21st century and features approximately 40 works by 20 contemporary realist artists from throughout the United States and Canada.
By John Seed
In early 1991, art critic Roberta Smith looked over Bo Bartlett’s painting God—a sweeping image of a black man, poised in front of a sweeping coastal horizon, wrapped in a quilt—and came slightly unglued. In her New York Times review of the exhibition she later wrote of the piece: “As consciousness raising, this is fairly simple-minded. As history painting, it’s idiotic.”
In the same column, Smith also dings Bartlett for his “conservative” artistic style (realism), dismissing his paintings as being “more trendy than timeless.” Smith’s comments, which generated a domino effect of subsequent negative reviews—by Peter Schjeldahl, Michael Kimmelman and others—re-shaped the arc of Bartlett’s career.
By John O’Hern
Andrew Wyeth wrote, “Art to me, is seeing. I think you have got to use your eyes, as well as your emotion, and one without the other just doesn’t work. That’s my art.” Writing about Wyeth just after his death, Bo Bartlett called his friend “…a Zen master. He was a contemplative. Regarding the patience it takes to discover a painting, he would sit for hours looking; he said, ‘If you sit long enough, the life will appear.” He has called Wyeth’s ability to see “a lost art. We’re scared of seeing. If we were to see the mystery of what all this is…it’s very overwhelming for our little brain.” He suggests that if we could slow down, and look, “we could, perhaps, if we’re lucky, tap into the great mystery.”
By Chuck Williams
A portrait of a federal judge that Columbus artist Bo Bartlett worked on for almost two years was unveiled Thursday night in a Washington courtroom.
The "Summer of '14" is now a work of art. It is also a work in progress by Columbus artist Bo Bartlett. In the painting, two teenage girls are riding a bike oblivious to the cloud of smoke behind them. It was that kind of summer for Bartlett, who worked on the painting in his second-floor studio in the old Swift textile mill on Sixth Avenue. Things seemed to be going well, but he says he sensed impending doom. It struck when his 27-year-old son, Eliot, died suddenly. Recently, Bartlett sat down with Ledger-Enquirer reporter Chuck Williams to discuss his life, his work and his difficult summer.