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Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick

American artist Barkley L. Hendricks (1945–2017) revolutionized contemporary portraiture with his vivid depictions of Black subjects beginning in the late 1960s. This book contextualizes Hendricks’s portraits at different stages of the country’s history and places him in the pantheon of innovative twentieth-century artists.

Hendricks developed his signature style at a time of significant social and cultural change in the United States, especially with regard to Black artists, and amid a perceived bifurcation between abstraction and representation. He produced portraits from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. Following a hiatus during which he made landscapes, basketball paintings, works on paper, and photographs, he resumed his portraiture practice from 2002 until his death in 2017. Hendricks’s portrait paintings, often derived from photographs of friends and family, hired models, or figures he encountered on the street, were inspired by the artist’s research, international travels, and visits to museums like The Frick Collection, where he studied centuries-old European paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Bronzino, and others. Hardcover, 160 pages.

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