Born in Coblenz, Germany, Walter Barker grew up in Webster Groves, near St. Louis, Missouri. He received a BFA degree from Washington University in 1948, having studied with Philip Guston, Horst Janson and Max Beckmann. Barker earned an MFA degree from the University of Indiana, where he was a student of Alton Pickens and Henry Hope. Barker later did writing about Max Beckmann including the introductory essay for a Beckmann exhibition catalogue for Vivieno Gallery in 1969 and for a 1984 Beckmann exhibition catalogue in Munich, Germany. From 1962 to 1978, Walter Barker was a Special Correspondent for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. At Washington University from 1950 to 1962, he was an instructor of painting, and from 1966 to 1985, he taught at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro where he was also a resident.

Source: “Who’s Who in American Art, 2003-2004”