Barbara Ernst Prey, one of America’s most significant artists, who has strong ties to Maine is once again being recognized on a global level. Her iconic painting, “The Collection,” has been selected by the U.S. State Department for the cover image for all invitations and sent out by every U.S. Embassy and U.S. Ambassador worldwide for their Independence Day celebrations at their respective Embassies.
Prey, who lives in New York but considers Maine her second home, has a studio on Port Clyde and has been inspired by the Maine landscape for more than 35 years. She initially traveled to Maine with a friend, and since spending time here, she has learned that her family history goes back to Vinalhaven in the 1700s.
Prey is one of the key figures of 21st century landscape painting. Appointed by the president of the United States to the National Council on the Arts (the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Arts), Prey is the only visual artist on the board.
In 2004, the New York state Senate honored Prey with the prestigious “Women of Distinction Award,” an honor shared with Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt. In the same year, she was chosen for the U.S. Arts in the Embassies Program. Since then, her artwork has been exhibited in U.S. embassies and consulates in Paris, Prague, Madrid, Seoul, Baghdad, Abu Dhabi, Bogota, Mexico City, Athens, Cairo and Rangoon.
Her work is part of the White House’s permanent collection, and also is owned by private collectors, including former President George W. Bush, Mrs. Henry Luce III, Nobel Laureate Dr. and Mrs. James Watson, Ambassador and Mrs. Craig Stapleton, Prince and Princess Johannes Lobkowicz, songwriter Jimmy Webb and actors Orlando Bloom and Tom Hanks.
A print of “The Collection,” which was painted in Maine, is included in Prey’s print show exhibit currently at Blue Water Fine Arts in Port Clyde.
Her annual exhibit, “East Meets West,” opens July 20 at Blue Water Fine Arts gallery in Port Clyde, Maine. A print of “The Collection” will also be included in this exhibit, as well as studies for the original painting.