Lines and Colors art blog

Alice Pike Barney
American painter and pastellist Alice Pike Barney was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — a time when outspoken, involved, skilled and independent-minded women like herself were the model for what was seen by proponents of early feminism as the “New Woman”.

Based in Washington, DC, she travelled to Paris, where her two daughters were attending school, and studied with Sargent’s teacher Carolus-Duran, as well as with James Whistler, during the brief time he operated a school.

Barney was adept in both oil and pastel, in the latter medium often taking a free approach, with vibrant colors and loose, gestural handling. Her interest in theater shows in her portraits cast in theatrical roles and costume.

She painted numerous portraits of her daughters at various points in their lives, as well as a number of self-portraits (above, bottom). Her subjects inclided such noted figures as Whistler and George Bernard Shaw.

A patron as well as an artist, Barney was active in working to make Washington, D.C. a notable city for the arts, helping to move it out of the shadow of New York, Philadelphia and Boston.


5 responses to “Alice Pike Barney”

  1. Charley,
    Beautiful work from yet another 19th-20th century artist. And yet another artist I have never heard of, adding even more value to your research and sharing on this blog.

    Thank you,


  2. I was going to say almost the same thing that Bill did. So I will echo his thank you!

  3. Truly wonderful work – so pleased to learn about this inspiring woman! Once again, Charley, you school me.

  4. How did you come up with the name Lines and Colors?

    1. I wanted something in common with all of the genres of art I write about. I took my inspiration from the title of an XTC album that I think does the same for rock music: Drums and Wires.