The National Art School would like to pay tribute to alumnus James Barker, who died on Wednesday 2nd January 2019, aged 87.
James Barker graduated from East Sydney Technical College with a Diploma in Fine Arts (Painting) in 1955. Fellow students included Ron Lambert, Robin Lawrence, Georgina Worth, Barbara Holliday, Karen Oom, Cameron Sparks and Elisabeth Cummings. In 1956 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and travelled widely from this time on.
Elisabeth Cummings joined James in Florence some years after her own graduation from the NAS, where they were married and spent the ensuing years painting, teaching and travelling throughout Europe. James studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence and with Kokoschka in Salzburg. In 1966 he opened his own studio in Florence where he taught painting and drawing.
He returned to Australia in 1968 taking a teaching position in painting and art history at the National Art School and also at the University of Sydney with Dr. Lloyd Rees. His astounding depth of knowledge of art history and his dry wit was a great bonus for his many students at the National Art School.
He continued his painting practice, held many solo exhibitions and was the recipient of art awards throughout his life. He maintained his close ties with the National Art School for over sixty years.
The National Art School extends condolences to James’s family and friends, particularly his son Damian, Elisabeth Cummings and second wife Josephine Maxwell.