Bill Barrell, artist
BORN & RAISED IN LONDON, ENGLAND

Bill Barrell was born in London, England in December of 1932. Raised during World War II, he has many stories to tell of being a child during the war .In 1954, he came to the US with his parents and siblings and spent his early years in Philadelphia. Bill spent his first independent  time in  New York City before he ventured to Provincetown, Massachusetts.

SUN GALLERY, PROVINCETOWN

 Hans Hoffman’s School of Fine Art in Provincetown was next door to Bill’s first studio in Provincetown. Bill had his first  show at the Sun Gallery in Provincetown and took over the Sun Gallery in 1960. Showing figurative expressionist works by his young artist friends, his gallery shows included Bob Beauchamp, Bob Thompson, Tony Vevers and Red Grooms. Grooms had his first “Happening” at the Sun Gallery. Claes Oldenburg’s first show was there. (Read more about the Sun Gallery.) 

TRAVELING

The adventures continued when Bill went traveling in the early sixties, to Mexico, London, Paris, Florence, Madrid and Ibiza. His son Joshua was born during these years.

RHINO HORN, ARTISTS TALK ON ART

In 1964, he returned to the Lower East Side of New York City. With his old friends, Jay Milder, Peter Dean, Peter Passuntino and Nick Sperakis, they formed a figurative expressionist artist group known  as Rhino Horn.  Notably, Rhino Horn was the first group on a discussion panels run by Bob Wiegand who established Artists Talk on Art.  It still flourishes today as the longest running panel series in art history.  

PITT STREET SALON

Pitt St Salon, Bill’s studio in Soho, was once written about in the New York Times by Grace Gluck. She wrote in her article (titled “Alternative Spaces” ) that the Pitt St Salon and a few others had opened their studio spaces to the public. Gluck encouraged other artists to follow suit so artists would not have to wait for galleries to take interest in their work. Painters and sculptors in the area soon did this to great success. Bob Wiegand and other painters and sculptors in the area called themselves The Downtown Ten.  You know that area now as Soho in lower Manhattan.