Dana Bartlett was born in Ionia, Michigan in 1882, he moved to New York City to study at the Art Students League. There he studied under William Merritt Chase and Charles Warren Eaton.
For a short time Bartlett had a studio in Boston before moving to Portland, Oregon, where he worked as a commercial artist for the Foster-Kleiser Company. He then relocated to California,and briefly had a studio in San Francisco before finally settling in Los Angeles in 1915. In 1921 he had the opportunity to show his work with a select group of fourteen artists at the first California Watercolor Society. He held a solo exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1927, and soon after opened his own gallery featuring work of local artists as well as his own.
He was an accomplished waterolorist whose decorative style embodies the California Eucalyptus School, however he painted many nocturnes, landscapes, an scenes from his travels in Europe. He contributed greatly to his local art community and taught at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles during his career. His works are held in many museums, including the Laguna Beach Museum of Art, and the Huntington Library, San Marino.
Dana Bartlett died on July 3, 1957 in Los Angeles, California.