Bo Bartlett was born on December 29, 1955 in Columbus, Georgia. At the age of 19 he traveled to Florence, Italy where he studied under Ben Long. In 1975 he returned to the United States, where he studied at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and then the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He also studied anatomy at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. During his time in Pennsylvania, Bartlett apprenticed under Nelson Shanks. Bartlett then went on to study liberal arts at the University of Pennsylvania from 1980 to 1981.
In 1986, Bartlett received a Certificate in Filmmaking from New York University. This led him to embark upon the 5-year process of creating a film in collaboration with Betsy Wyeth on the life and works of her husband, Andrew Wyeth. The film, entitled Snow Hill, began Bartlett's relationship with Wyeth as a lifelong friend.
Bo Bartlett currently lives and paints on an island off the coast of Maine in summer, and in his hometown of Columbus, Georgia in the winter.
Bo Bartlett is an American realist with a modernist vision. His paintings are within the tradition of American realism as defined by artists such as Thomas Eakins 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.
Bartlett was educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where realist principles must be grasped before modernist ventures are encouraged. He pushes the boundaries of the realist tradition with his multilayered imagery. Life, death, passage, memory, and confrontation coexist easily in his world. Family and friends are the cast of characters who appear in his dreamlike narrative works. Although the scenes are set around his childhood home in Georgia, his island summer home in Maine, his home in Pennsylvania or the surroundings of his studio and residence in Washington State, they represent a deeper, mythical concept of the archetypal, universal home.
His work can be found in private collections, public collections, and galleries throughout the United States.
- Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
- Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA
- The Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA
- McCormick Place Metropolis Pier and Exposition authority, South Hall, Chicago, IL
- Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA
- Curtis Institute, Philadelphia, PA
- Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA
- La Salle University Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
- Office of the Governor, Harrisburg, PA
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
- Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA
- United States Mint, Philadelphia, PA
- Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC
- Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN
- Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
- Bo Bartlett’s official website
- Butler, Charles T. ed. Bo Bartlett, Columbus, GA, Columbus Museum. Published in conjunction with the exhibition Heartland: Paintings by Bo Bartlett, 1978–2002.
- Catalog to accompany Still Point, Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine.
Beem, Edgar Allen, “Awake in a dream: Bo Bartlett’s Maine Eye”. Hannah, Anelecia, “Awakening to the Still Point.” Little, Carl, “Still Point”