Born in Massachusetts in 1911, Barnet was one of the Art Students League of New York's most important students. He first started studying at the school in 1930 and before long, his focus turned to printmaking, alongside painting. By 1936, he became the institution's official printer and taught students, including Yasuo Kuniyoshi, the craft of printmaking.

Will Barnet Image vi the Telegraph Will Barnet
Image via the Telegraph

As well as Kuniyoshi and Cy Twombly, Barnet influenced Pop artist James Rosenquist, New York artist Knox Martin and American Abstract Expressionist painter Paul Jenkins.

Barnet's work offers the same simplicity in the use of flat surfaces as Alex Katz's. Barnet played a key role in the New York Indian Space Painting movement, which saw artists create abstractions of Native American art.

As well as abstract art, later in his career, Barnet focused on figurative painting, and today is probably best remembered for his portraits of his family from the 1970's, including his Silent Seasons series.

Image via AFA news Will Barnet receiving the National Medal of Arts in 2011 Image via AFA news

As well as being represented widely in American institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMA, in 2011, one year before his passing, Barnet was awarded the 2011 National Medal of Arts by President Obama.

Will Barnet, Atalanta Will Barnet, Atalanta

His works Atalanta sold at Sotheby's for $137 000 in May 2014. Search realized prices for Will Barnet here.

Fairfield Auction's sale on March 19-22 will include Barnet's haunting work Idle Hands, which has been widely published and exhibited. Check out the full sale here.

Will Barnet, Idle Hands Will Barnet, Idle Hands