Barkley L. Hendricks, 1945–2017

Barkley L. Hendricks, Sweet Thang (Lynn Jenkins), 1975-1976, oil on linen 130 x 130 cm ©Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Jack Shainman Gallery has announced that American painter Barkley L. Hendricks has died aged 72. Though he worked with a variety of media (including photography) he was best known for his life-sized oil portraits, often featuring black Americans who embodied the underrepresented population of the urban northeast in the US in the 1960s and 1970s, and continued working in a similar fashion up to his death. His attachment to portray ‘people of his time’ made him an influential figure within American portraiture, inspiring a younger generation of the likes of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. 

Hendricks earned both his BFA and MFA from Yale University, and taught at Connecticut College from 1972 to 2010. A retrospective of his work, Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, organised at the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (2008), subsequently traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2008–9), Santa Monica Museum of Art, California (2009), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (2009–10) and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas (2010).His works are included in a number of public collections at institutions both in the US and internationally, such as the Whitney Museum (NY), the Brooklyn Museum (NY), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Nasher Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), and Tate Modern (London), among others.

18 April 2017