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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Kenmore Galleries, Inc., Philadelphia
    Private Collection, Cambridge, MA
    Bonhams and Butterfields, Los Angeles, May 5, 2008, lot 132
    Private Collection, NY (acquired at the above sale)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born 1945, Philadelphia, PA
    Died 2017, New London, CT

    1972 BFA, Yale University, New Haven, CT
    1972 MFA, Yale University, New Haven, CT

    Selected honors: Rappaport Prize (2016); the President’s Award from the Amistad Center for Art and Culture (2010); Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008)
    Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, North Carolina; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pennsylvania; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
    Selected public collections: Menil Collection, Houston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; The Studio Museum, Harlem; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

    An artist well ahead of his time, Barkley L. Hendricks in the 1960s radically embraced figuration at a time when abstraction ruled. It was whilst touring European museums that a young Hendricks was so taken aback by the lack of black subjects in Old Master paintings that he embarked upon what is now his best known work: life sized portraits of predominantly black men, primarily from his native Philadelphia, depicted in classical poses. The tonal subtleties and exquisite attention to light, fabric and flesh in Hendrick’s portraits are utterly impressive, revealing Hendrick’s adoption of Old Master techniques with a Pop art sensibility to render the full complexity of everyday people. “I wanted to deal with the beauty, grandeur, style of my folks. Not the misery,” he has explained. In the commanding, towering presence and undeniable swagger of many of Hendricks’s subjects we recognize that very sense of cool detachment and defiant empowerment so characteristic of the artist’s revolutionary act of portraiture.

    Hendricks himself has distanced himself from overtly political readings of his work, opposing the tendency to interpret his identity as a black artist into his painting with his trademark panache. Speaking about his own identity in a 2016 Artspace interview with Karen Rosenberg he stated, “It’s a component. It’s a sort of situation that I happen to be a part of, in a nation that’s constantly thinking about black and white. All right? I paint because I like to paint…Let’s move beyond that whole area of “political” that seems to be a part of people’s thinking…”. Ultimately, as Hendricks has stated, “Where human subjects are concerned, I address what is in front of me.”

    Pioneering the genre of portraiture by painting art history including issues of identity and heritage, Hendricks paved the way for such artists as Kehinde Wiley and others. As Trevor Schoonmaker, the curator for Hendricks’ first career retrospective Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool in 2008, put in a nutshell, “His bold portrayal of his subject’s attitude and style elevates the common person to celebrity status. Cool, empowering, and sometimes confrontational, Hendricks’ artistic privileging of a culturally complex Black body has paved the way for today’s younger generation of artists.”



titled ""JULIE"" on the overlap; inscribed with the date "11/13/69" on the stretcher
oil on canvas
diameter 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm.)
Executed in 1969.

Estimate on Request



New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019