Rarely is it difficult to find beauty in Black people, but visual artists have a way of bottling that beauty in paint, portrait and sculpted pieces in awe-inspiring ways. Barkley L. Hendricks was one of those artists who we have to thank for taking the world of art by storm and helping to make it a world of inclusive beauty. The Contemporary American painter most widely known for his oil portraits has died due to natural causes at the age of 72 and is survived by his wife of 34 years.
Hendricks originally studied photography and obtained a BFA and MFA from Yale before finding his footing at the crossroads of American realism and post-modern art. Although the unmatched vivid detail captured in his vibrant paintings made him a gallery magnet and landed him in a league of his own, the Philadelphia-born artist wasn’t above helping young creatives sharpen their artistic skill. So he took to the Studio Art classrooms of Connecticut College where he worked as Professor Emeritus for 38 years.
We couldn’t possibly ever forget everything he’s done for people of color as artists and as art in general. Our thoughts are with Barkley’s family and friends as they mourn his loss.
Check out some of Barkley Hendricks’ work below and revisit our artist spotlight on the visual mastermind’s Wine & Grind selections here.