BRADENTON – For a limited time, the Barbaryan Gallery will open in the Village of the Arts to show the fashion-illustration work of Susan Barbaryan. Barbaryan's work from the 1950s-1960s embodied the golden age of ad illustration. The artist illustrated for many of the top fashion designers including Anne Klein. Many of Barbaryan's original sketches and prints will be exhibited. Formerly of New York City, the artist and her family moved to Sarasota in 1976 and Barbaryan eventually resided in both the Riverfront and Langdon Hall retirement communities.
From the late 1940s through the early 1970s, Susan was one of the top fashion illustrators in the industry, a time that included the so-called Mad Men era, when advertising began to mesh with pop culture. In the beginning, she worked out of a studio in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City (pictured in the gallery) and for most of her career used the easel, brushes and supplies displayed in the exhibit as well.
In the late 1940s, she met John O’Brien at the Arts Student League in New York City. She later married the ecclesiastic muralist, a union that would last for over 50 years. During the 1950s and early 1960s, the two were among the most dynamic artist couples in the city's art scene.
Susan’s career focused primarily on designer fashion illustration and then moved into children’s fashion illustration in the 1970s and commercial design in the 1980s. Her stylized "Barbaryan" signature was well-known, as were other signature innovations such as leaving certain facial features absent.
The gallery, located at 1329 11th Street West in Bradenton's Village of the Arts, features many of her surviving fashion illustration originals and prints, as well as some of her nudes and children’s fashion illustration. Susan Barbaryan passed away in the Fall of 2012 in Bradenton, Florida. The gallery will be open December 7–22; 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.