Barkley L. Hendricks, ‘Steve’, 1976, Whitney Museum of American Art

Collection: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

"Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection"

Venue: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016)

Purchase and gift with funds from the Arthur M. Bullowa Bequest by exchange, the Jack E. Chachkes Endowed Purchase Fund, and the Wilfred P. and Rose J. Cohen Purchase Fund.

About Barkley L. Hendricks

Barkley L. Hendricks’ socially charged work has spanned drastically diverse cultural climates, from the Black Power movement of the 1960s through the election of the United States’ first black president. While touring European museums in the ’60s, a 21-year-old Hendricks was so stricken by the lack of black presence in paintings of the Old Masters that he began his now best known work: life-sized paintings of urban black men (originally subjects from his hometown of Philadelphia) in empowered, classical depictions. Hendricks became a pioneer of black portraiture that pairs art history with questions of personal identity and cultural heritage, championed today by artists like Kehinde Wiley. Though primarily a painter, Hendricks credits photography as a key to his practice, which he studied under Walker Evans and often uses as reference to create his stunning, photorealistic portraits.

American, 1945-2017, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania