After contributing some paintings to a church fundraiser, his talent captured the eye of his Priest who encouraged him to apply to the Art Institute of Chicago which he attended from 1924-1928.
It was Richmond's talent as a sculptor which was recognized and encouraged both by classmates and critics in Chicago. After a one man show in 1928 he moved to New York City, set up shop and began working. In addition to creating art, he socialized *--with central figures of the Harlem Renaissance including Langston Huges, Alain Locke, Augusta Savage and Carl Van Vechten
Richmond Barthe was an out gay man and lived a fascinating life. He **--continued to create sculpture well into the 1960s, some of which was commissioned as public art. He sculpted an American eagle for the Social Security Building in Washington, D.C. and a bas-relief for the Harlem River Housing Project. In 1949, the Haitian government commissioned him to create monuments to the revolutionary leaders Toussaint L’Overture and Jean Jacques Dessalines in Port-au-Prince. In addition to spending time in Haiti, Barthé lived in Jamaica before returning to the United States and settling in southern California. He died in 1989.
For more information on the personal side of his life and career, check out Cassandra Langers article on the Gay & Lesbian Review.
Watch him at work
*, ** source: blackpast.org