Xavier J. Barile (1891-1981)
Pueblo College Co-ed
Oil on Academy Board, 16 x 12 inches. Signed and dated lower right: “Xavier J. Barile/ ‘41”
Biographical material posted at askart.com; Armour, Judy, "Xavier Barile: Ashcan & WPA Artist," posted at www.sullivangoss.com/xavier_Barile.
Acquired from Stephen Lapidus, Hallowell, Maine (dealer), April 24,1999; deaccessioned, about 2014, private collection, Chicago, Illinois.
Inscribed “Pueblo College Co-ed/ by/ Xavier J. Barile/ -----1941-----” on reverse (see Fig. 1, below). Simple 2½-inch oak frame (probably original).
Fig. 1 - Inscription on reverse.
An Italian native, Xavier J. Barile emigrated to New York City in 1907 at age sixteen with his mother and four siblings, joining his father, a tailor who had arrived several years earlier to prepare their way. While assisting in his father’s tailoring business by day, he attended evening art classes at the Cooper Union Institute. Shortly after his graduation from Cooper Union, he enrolled at the Art Students League where he was strongly influenced by John Sloan and other members of the Ash Can School. In 1919, he founded the Barile Art School in New York City, beginning a teaching career which would span more than sixty years. As an artist, Barile exhibited widely during the Twenties and Thirties. With the onset of the Depression, he participated in the W.P.A. Art Project in New York, collaborating on murals at several sites, including the United States Customs House with Reginald Marsh.
In 1939, upon the recommendation of Sloan, Barile was appointed chairman of the art department at Pueblo Junior College in Pueblo, Colorado, where he remained through 1945. It was during his tenure there that he painted this simple yet charming portrait of an unidentified Pueblo College coed. Barile was celebrated for his skill as a portraitist. "As a portrait painter,” wrote James Britton, editor of the Art Review International, “Mr. Barile's fine sympathy and insight enable him to reveal human character in as favorable a light as a desire to reach the truth permits.” *
Barile eventually returned to New York where remained active as an artist and teacher well into his eighties.
* Quoted in Armour, Judy, "Xavier Barile: Ashcan & WPA Artist," posted at www.sullivangoss.com/xavier_Barile.