Barkley L. Hendricks (born 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a contemporary American painter who has made pioneering contributions to black portraiture and conceptualism. While he has worked in a variety of media and genres throughout his career (from photography to landscape painting), Hendricks’ best known work takes the form of life-sized painted oil portraits. In these portraits, he attempts to imbue a proud, dignified presence upon his subjects, most frequently urban people of color. Hendricks’ work has been noted as unique for its matrimony of both American realism and post-modernism.
Hendricks earned his certificate at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Yale University. Currently, he serves as a professor of art at Connecticut College.
Hendricks’ work can be viewed in many public institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. Hendricks’ first career painting retrospective, titled Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, with works dating from 1964 to present, was organized by Trevor Schoonmaker at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in spring 2008, has traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, is on view now at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and will finish at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in spring 2010. Hendricks’s work was featured on the cover of the April 2009 issue of Artforum Magazine, with an extensive review of Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool.