Xavier Barile Biography

Xavier Barile

American

1891-1981

Biography

Xavier J. Barile was born March 18th, 1891 in Tufo, Italy. At age 16, his mother brought him, his two brothers and two sisters to Queens, New York, where they joined his father. Barile's early years were spent assisting his father in the family tailoring business. He learned English quickly and enrolled in evening art classes at Cooper Union. Barile worked as a cartoon illustrator for several papers and magazines to supplement his tuition. Soon after graduating Cooper Union, he began courses at the Art Students League, working under the instruction of prominent Ashcan artists such as John Sloan, William de Leftwich Dodg, Louis Mora, and Victor Perard. During this time, Barile also formed lasting relationships with social realists George Luks, Everett Shinn, and Robert Henri. Highly influenced by these artists, who are collectively known as "The Eight," Barile founded his own art school in 1919. The Barile Art School was primarily focused on teaching painting in oil, watercolor, and casein. Barile's school offered life, portrait, still life, composition, etching, and landscape classes in the summer.

In the 1920s and 30s, Barile was an active member of the New York arts scene. He exhibited at the Whitney Studio Club, the Andersen Gallery, the Cincinnati Museum, and the Salmagundi Club. He served as secretary of the Italian American Arts Association. He was a member of The Dalais, a group of 12 painters who were joined in their common desire for each artist to express his vision of beauty as simply, clearly, and honestly as possible (Smithsonian Institution Archives).

During the depression, Barile worked for the WPA. He worked under longtime friend Reginald Marsh, painting the murals of the U.S. Customs House on Bowling Green, New York. Barile and his colleagues spent hours observing and sketching the bustling activity of the New York waterfront in preparation for the massive project.

In 1939, Barile moved to Colorado to serve as the founding head of the Pueblo Junior College Art Department. During his tenure, he established the Pueblo Junior College Fine Arts Festival, which held public demonstrations of portrait painting and monotype creation. He also brought exhibitions from around the country, including one from The American Monotype Society to the Pueblo campus.

Barile left Colorado in 946 to teach at The Arts Club in St. Augustine, FL, and eventually returned to New York to continue working, teaching, and exhibiting. He traveled all across the United States to paint, capturing images of the Southwest, California, Texas, Kansas, New Orleans, and New England. During his lifetime, Barile taught mainly at the Barile Fine Arts Group and organized painting excursions to exotic locales, including Mexico and Italy. In 1961, he married his student Lolita de Silva, a young Mexican artist. The marriage ended 18 years later when de Silva suffered nervous breakdowns and was taken back to Mexico by her family. Barile continued to work until his death two years later on October 18, 1981 at age 90.

(Smithsonian Institution Archives).