Richard C. Bartlett Bio

 The Dune Painter

THE RANGERS AT SANDY NECK on Cape Cod's northern shore are very familiar with a blue Plymouth minivan parked by the side of the road. The minivan -- modified to meet an artist's needs -- is a studio on wheels for an intensely involved landscape painter doing yet another dunescape! Dick Bartlett sees great beauty in Cape Cod's natural scenery: wind and water have sculpted the sand into giant anthromorphic forms and botanical marvels lend texture and color to a wide angle scene. There is an overwhelming sense of being in a sanctified place, he says. (He also adds that he has painted as many dunes as Claude Monet painted haystacks.)

Changes of seasons and changes of light make Dick Bartlett's scenes always fresh and powerful in the way the great American original Charles Burchfield (1893-1967) painted his native midwestern landscape. Dick Bartlett's watercolors are very personal: he might include colored inks used with a quill pen made from a wing feather of a gull found on a beach walk, and wax crayons made in his workshop. In selecting subjects for paintings he looks first for a scene's abstract image and then proceeds to depict the scene in his own practical way, creating a dynamism between design and technique that makes his work so unique among landscape painters.

His painting Winter Lace was just recently acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Other subjects that intrigue this artist and have spawned many pictures are megaliths, waterfalls, tree trunks, nudes, and scenes from travel in Italy, Portugal, and Great Britain.

Dick Bartlett began painting as a child, using his father's discarded art supplies. Richard F. Bartlett (1900-1987) was an illustrator and painter of note who worked from his studios in Boston and East Bridgewater, Massachusetts.


RICHARD C. BARTLETT was born January 6, 1924 in Brockton, Massachusetts, the son of acclaimed illustrator and painter Richard F. Bartlett [1900 -- 1989]. He was educated in the public schools of East Bridgewater and gained entrance to the prestigious School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he graduated with highest honors. He won the Museum School Traveling Scholarship for study in Europe in 1949 and 1950 after serving for four years as a bombardier/navigator in the 8th Air Force of the U.S. Army Air Corps during which he completed thirty-five bombing missions over Nazi Europe.

Dick Bartlett taught in the Drawing and Graphic Arts Department of the Museum School from 1949 to 1960; he taught graphic design at Simmons College from 1974 to 1977; and book design and production at the Radcliffe Publishing Procedures Course from 1976 to 1988.

He conducted a 32-program series on printmaking techniques on WGBH-TV in 1958 while engaged in book design and illustration: first as a designer and art director for textbook publisher D.C. Heath & Co.; art director and production manager of Beacon Press; and director of publications at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University until 1980. His freelance design practice included book design and illustrations for Houghton-Mifflin; Little, Brown & Co.; Harvard Business School; Northeastern University Press; David R. Godine Publishers and the Boston Athenaeum.

Dick Bartlett was actively involved in stone lithography and serigraphy from 1946 to 1959, and in drawing and painting from 1960 to the present. His watercolor landscapes date from 1980. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Wiggin Collection of the Boston Public Library; the Bezellel Museum of Israel; Le Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris; the Boston Athenaeum; and other private and public collections.

His studio/gallery is in his home in the village of Cotuit on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He may be reached at P.O. Box 163, Cotuit MA 02635, and by telephone at 508/428-7911.

Snail mail: P.O. Box 1795, Mashpee MA 02649


© Richard C. Bartlett