Barnet will turn 98 in May, and to celebrate George Braziller is releasing Will Barnet: A Sketchbook, 1932-1934, a collection of previously unreleased drawings from the beginning of Barnet's career. Here's what Art & Antiques says about the book:
The artist himself had forgotten it existed, so the freshness of the drawings, executed en plein air in Central Park, was as much a revelation to him as it will be to those who know Barnet's more finished works. Here are spontaneous, emotionally intense pen-and-ink snapshots of ordinary people taking refuge in the park from the city's stresses--sailors with their dates, young parents with babies, lovers embracing in the grass--and finding some relief from the worrisome times in each other's company.
Barnet had only recently arrived in the city when he begain the sketchbook. "It was the deep Depression, and I cuaght these people who were its victims," he recalls... "I was living like they were living... I used to sleep in the park on top of big rocks across from the St. Moritz Hotel. I wanted to catch the moment. My sketch pad and pen were a means of expressing my feelings about the city."