Denver Bar Association
September 2013
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Denver Lawyers' Arts & Literature Contest: Sculpture Winner Barry Bartel, "Roots and Branches"

Barry Bartel


arry Bartel is an attorney with Holland & Hart LLP in Denver, specializing in representation of natural gas producers. He learned appreciation for the beauty of wood creations from his father, who crafted many pieces of furniture from black walnut harvested from the family farm in Kansas. While working in Bolivia for five years in the middle of his law career, Bartel tried to find a piece of local native wood whenever he travelled, not knowing what he would make with them. When he moved to his home on Lookout Mountain, one wall seemed the perfect place to display a creation showing the different kinds of wood. Bartel created a kind of wood collage measuring 36 inches by 53 inches, with 40 pieces of wood, including 22 types of wood from South and Central America. The horizontal "earth" piece is mahogany wood Bartel brought back after living in Haiti following college. The other wood pieces include types with English equivalents ("cedro" is "cedar"), names with literal English translations ("palo sangre" means "blood wood"), and exotic names without known equivalents (such as "tarara" or "jichituriqui"), with beautiful grains displaying shades of green, purple, red, yellow, and brown. When his middle school-aged niece saw the piece, she thought it looked like "roots and branches" of trees, which has become its title. "I never considered myself an artist, but I enjoy being creative in analyzing legal issues, in solving problems, and in working with wood," Bartel said.

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