"PORTRAIT OF GRACE BERGENDAHL"
OIL ON PANEL, SIGNED
AMERICAN, TITLED, DATED 1960
20 X 16 INCHES
Xavier J. Barile
The following information was provided by Harry Kastner, second cousin of the artist:
Xavier J Barile was a Social Realist painter, teacher, lecturer, graphic artist, and writer. He was born March 18, 1891, in Tufo, Italy. His love of beauty manifested itself at a very early age. During his early teens, he used to design monograms for the young girls of his home town, Tufo, Italy, to embroider on their most precious possession, their hope chest and trousseau.
In 1907, his mother brought him, his two younger brothers and two sisters to New York, to join their father who had been in New York for several years, preparing the way. He quickly learned English and spent some time helping his father, who was earning a living for the family as a tailor.
Having learned English well, Barile then enrolled in the Evening Art Classes at Cooper Union Institute in New York. In due course he enrolled in the Art Students League, New York City. Here he came under the influence of John Sloan, Reginald Marsh and Victor Perard as teachers and George Luks, Robert Henri and Everett Shinn of "the Eight" as friends and colleagues.
In 1939 John Sloan dedicated his book, Gist of Art as follows, "To my old friend, first monitor of my first class at the Art Students League 1914." This friendship and mutual regard lasted until Sloan's death in 1951.
Of course, it was only natural that Barile should be a part of the "Ashcan School," painting the New York Scene. During this time that he was on his own he worked with all mediums - oil, watercolor, pastel, casein, charcoal, etc. - and he did some fine work with monotypes.
It was during these years, the 20's and 30's, that he began to exhibit in such places as the Whitney Studio Club (forerunner of the Whitney Museum of American Art), The Kit Kat Club, The Anderson Gallery, The Cincinnati Museum, The New Mexico Museum, National Society of Painters in Casein, The Salmagundi Club and many other exhibits throughout the United States. He is currently represented in The National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA) Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
In the mid 30's, like many another struggling artist, XJB worked on the WPA Art Project. One of the murals he worked on is in the U.S. Customs House, Bowling Green, N.Y.C. In this project he collaborated with Reginald Marsh who was the supervisor of this phase of the work.
The years until 1939 were spent working in all parts of the United States and in conducting his own classes for aspiring artists. In 1939, on the recommendation of John Sloan, he became the founder, first teacher and Chairman of The Department of Fine Arts, Pueblo Junior College, Pueblo Colorado. He held that position until 1945 when he returned to his beloved New York.
His work during that period reflects his interest and fascination with the West and Southwest. The Pueblo-College History says, "Mr. Xavier J. Barile came to the college as Head of the Art Department in 1939. Under his guidance the Department developed into an outstanding asset in the community"
After his return to New York, he again began teaching, with his Barile Fine Arts Group. He continued teaching and producing, to the point where every part of the United States, Nassau and Mexico is represented in his word.
In 1961, at the age of 70, he married his student, Lolita de Silva, a budding artist much younger than himself. It was the first marriage for both of them. The marriage lasted until 1979 when Lolita, who had suffered several nervous breakdowns, was taken back to Mexico by her family.
Barile lived to ninety years of age, mentally alert almost to the end of his life. At his age, he was one of the last, if not the last of the artists of the Ashcan School.
Memberships included Society of Independent Artists, Art Students League (Lifetime), Association of Culture, Whitney Studio Club, Kit Kat Club, Salmagundi Club, Italo American Artist Association, American Monotype Society, and National Society of Painters in Casein
He held the following positions:
Many and favorable have been the critiques of his work throughout the years: Walter Pulitzer, well known writer-post-critic, paid the following tribute to Mr. Barile: "...I am not stretching my editorial canvas when I say I have always found something new - something charmingly fresh and arresting in his offerings, whether in the widely divergent fields of landscape, portraiture, charcoal or drypoint. ... with a rare and commendable economy of force and pigment, and yet a magic warmth surely borrowed from his sunny clime - his somehow charged brush gives us the very motion of water gently heaving in a smooth expanse, skies so varied and colorful that one must fain linger over them, hills and valleys. !the greenest of things green! as Swinburn would say."