Alice Pike Barney (born Alice Pike, January 14, 1857 - 1931) was an American painter. She was active in Washington, D.C. and worked to make Washington into a center of the arts.
Her two daughters were the writer and salon hostess Natalie Clifford Barney and the Bahá'í writer Laura Clifford Barney.
Barney's father Samuel Napthali Pike, who had made his fortune as the distiller of Magnolia brand whiskey, was a patron of the arts in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he built Pike's Opera House. His father was a German-Jew, and his mother a Dutch-Christian. Alice Pike Barney's mother was of French descent. After the family moved New York City in 1866, he built what would become the Grand Opera House at Twenty-Third Street and Eighth Avenue. Barney was the youngest of four children and the only one who fully shared her father's cultural interests; as a child she showed talent as a singer and pianist.
At 17 she became engaged to the explorer Henry Morton Stanley. Alice's mother considered the match unsuitable due to the age difference - she was 17, he 33 - and insisted that they wait to marry. While he was away on a two-year expedition in Africa, she instead married Albert Clifford Barney, son of a wealthy manufacturer of railway cars in Dayton, Ohio.
In 1882 Barney and her family spent the summer at New York's Long Beach Hotel, where Oscar Wilde happened to be speaking on his American lecture tour. Wilde spent the day with Alice and her daughter Natalie on the beach; their conversation changed the course of Alice's life, inspiring her to pursue art seriously despite her husband's disapproval.
In 1887 she travelled to Paris to be nearer her two daughters while they attended Les Ruches, a French boarding school founded by the feminist educator Marie Souvestre. While there, she studied painting with Carolus-Duran. She returned to Paris in 1896 - bringing her daughter Laura to a French hospital for treatment of leg pain from a childhood injury - and resumed her study with Carolus-Duran as well as taking lessons from the Spanish painter Claudio Castelucho. When James Abbott McNeill Whistler opened an academie, she was one of the first students. Whistler soon lost interest in teaching art and the school shut down, but he was a formative influence