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Richmond Barthé (1901-1989)

1 of 3
Head of a Boy, c.1938 painted plaster 9 ½&q...

Head of a Boy, c.1938
painted plaster
9 ½" x 7" x 6"
16 ½" x 7" x 6" including base, signed


Untitled (Reclining Male Nude), c.1960 bronze 13&q...

Untitled (Reclining Male Nude), c.1960
13" x 9 1/2" x 14 3/4", signed

Black Madonna, 1961 bronze 13" x 9 3/4"...

Black Madonna, 1961
13" x 9 3/4" x 8 3/4" / 33.0 x 24.8 x 22.2 cm
21 1/2" x 9 3/4" x 8 3/4" / 54.6 x 24.8 x 22.2 cm including base, signed


Prints & Publications

Artist Information

Richmond Barthé’s artistic talents were recognized as a youth, prompting local acquaintances and a Catholic pastor to pool resources in order to send him to the Art Institute of Chicago (1924-1929), where he studied privately under Charles Schroeder.  Although Barthé initially studied painting, favorable criticism for his early portrait busts shown at a Chicago Women’s City Club exhibition encouraged the young artist to devote himself entirely to sculpture. In 1928, Barthé won a Rosenwald Fellowship, and he continued his studies at the Art Students League in New York City. Barthé established his first studio in Harlem and spent the early 1930s establishing his career as a sculptor. He was active in Harmon Foundation exhibitions (1929, 1930, 1931) and by the mid-1930s, was so well known that he received numerous public and private commissions (including a Federal Arts Project commission at West Point and a Treasury Department commission for a frieze for the Harlem River Housing Project). By this time museums began to acquire his work, including the Whitney Museum of American Art (making him the first African-American artist

added to the permanent collection). Barthé’s sculpture is known for its elegantly elongated forms, spiritual emotion and sense of movement. A life-long interest in theater and dance influenced his work, and Barthé often worked from memory or used himself as a model. His sculptures range from large-scale public commissions to intimate sculptural portrait heads and studies of the human figure. He is noted for his technical proficiency, and in his work, Barthé attempted to convey eternal hope by capturing the beauty of the human body and spirit. In the late 1940s, Barthé left New York and traveled to Jamaica, where he remained until the mid-1960s. Subsequent years were spent in Switzerland, Spain and Italy before settling in Pasadena, California where he died in 1989. In 1992, Barthé was the subject of a major traveling exhibition and catalogue, Richmond Barthé and Richard Hunt: Two Sculptors, Two Eras, which explored Barthé’s strong influence on a new generation of African-American sculptors.


Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
Arthur Brisbane Memorial, New York, NY
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA
Church of St. Jude, Montgomery, AL
Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME
College of St. Mary of the Springs, Columbus, OH
Countee Cullen Library, New York, NY
Fisk University Gallery of Art, Memphis, TN
Gibbs Museum, Charleston, SC
Howard University Gallery of Art, Howard University, Washington, DC
IBM Corporation, New York, NY
Jamaica Public Library, St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, West Indies
Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, MI
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Oberlin College Museum, Oberlin, OH
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
The San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX
The Schomburg Collection, The New York Public Library, New York, NY
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
St. Augustines Seminary, Bay St. Louis, MI
Theosophical Society, Adyar, India
Tuskegee University Gallery of Art, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MI
University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University, New Haven, CT