Matthew Rackham Barnes. High Peak. 1936

Matthew Rackham Barnes High Peak 1936

  • Not on view

Barnes painted many desolate scenes like this one, a moonlit landscape in which an isolated house, with a single ghostly figure standing in the doorway, balances tenuously on a hilltop. The artist, who was self–taught, seems to have transferred this mood to his practice, sometimes painting in a largely dark studio, his canvas illuminated by a single lightbulb. High Peak was included in MoMA's 1943 exhibition Romantic Painting in America, which presented Romantic art as "the temporary triumph of Imagination over Reason in the war between the two." Barnes was described as continuing an American tradition of "the Romanticism of night and mystery" established by the nineteenth–century American painter Albert Pinkham Ryder. High Peak was purchased for the Museum's collection from that show.

Gallery label from American Modern: Hopper to O'Keeffe, August 17, 2013–January 26, 2014 .
Oil on canvas
36 1/4 x 42 1/8" (92.1 x 107 cm)
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (by exchange)
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].