Tulsa Artist Dies One Month After Hit And Run Crash
By Dan Bewley, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa man has died one month after his car was struck from behind in a hit and run crash. Bob Bartholic died Christmas night.
Many people in Tulsa's arts community are grieving his loss.
"It's timeless. It references ancient Chinese ceramics as much as it does contemporary art," said Grace Grothaus, Tulsa Artist, referring to one of Bartholic's paintings.
Grace Grothaus and Janice McCormick are mourning the loss of a well known local artist.
"Tulsa has just lost a treasure," Grothaus said.
Bob Bartholic and his wife were ejected from their car when it was hit from behind by a carjacking suspect two days before Thanksgiving.
Barbara Bartholic is now home and recovering but her husband spent 31 days on life support before passing away on Christmas night.
"We're just sad at his passing. He may have lived a long and full life but it still felt like, considering the nature of the accident, that it was cut short," Grothaus said.
Bob Bartholic learned to paint while in the Air Force during World War II and became well known in the Tulsa art community.
He and his wife owned a gallery in Tulsa in the '60's but it was earlier this decade when he began receiving more recognition.
"The work was just stunning. It just has this emotional resonance to it," Grothaus said.
"Well I think he talked a lot about the passage of time in his pieces. This one, for example, I think you get a sense of forlornness out of it...kind of a sadness," McCormick said.
McCormick says Bartholic was a quiet man who let his paintings speak for him. It's his life's work, she says, that will leave a lasting legacy.
"You still hear his voice through his paintings which is, I think, a really profound statement of what art is all about really to me...to speak to you across the void even," McCormick said.
Police have not made any arrest and encourage anyone with information about the crash to give them a call.
Mr. Bartholic's family and friends are planning a public memorial service; a date has not yet been decided.