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Sold at Auction: Rick Bartow

Alias:Richard Elmer Bartow


Richard Elmer "Rick" Bartow (December 16, 1946 – April 2, 2016) was a Native American artist and a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Indians, a small tribe indigenous to Humboldt County, California. He primarily created pastel, graphite, and mixed media drawings, wood sculpture, acrylic paintings, drypoint etchings, monotypes, and a small number of ceramic works.

Early life: Richard Elmer Bartow was born in Newport, Oregon on December 16, 1946 to Mabel and Richard Bartow. His father's family was of Wiyot heritage. In Oregon, the family developed close ties with the local Siletz Indian community. When Rick was five, his father died. His non-Indian mother then married Andrew Mekemson, whom Bartow considered to be a beloved second father. He became interested in art at an early age, encouraged by his aunt Amy Bartow, who was studying art and art education at the University of Washington. His love for art continued through high school and extended to music when he took up the guitar and bongos.

Personal life: Bartow attended Western Oregon University and graduated in 1969 with a degree in secondary art education. In 1969, he was drafted into the army and sent to Vietnam. He served in the Vietnam war from 1969 to 1971 as a teletype operator and as a musician in a military hospital, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.

Death: Rick Bartow died on April 2, 2016 at the age of 69, of congestive heart failure
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