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Published on Mar 9, 2011
At 99, printmaker and painter Will Barnet has lived through every major artistic school in modern American art. He can remember watching John Singer Sergeant paint murals on the ceiling of the Boston Public Library in the 1920s, and being the printmaker in New York for Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco. He remembers the explosion of Abstract Expressionism that would come to define the so-called New York School of artists. As a printmaker and art teacher at the Art Students League for 45 years, Barnet, who will turn 100 in May, taught the likes of Eva Hesse, Cy Twombly and Mark Rothko. But just as he did when he came to New York as a 19-year-old nobody, Will Barnet paints in his studio at the National Arts Club in Manhattan every day. His son, artist Peter Barnet, 72, of Maplewood, continues his father's tradition of teaching by heading the painting department at Montclair State University. (Video by Nyier Abdou/The Star-Ledger