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A new portrait by Kehinde Wiley speaks to his own youthful inspiration by an 18th-century master

This volume presents A Portrait of a Young Gentleman, a new portrait by Kehinde Wiley (born 1977), commissioned for an installation at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Wiley’s new work is presented in conversation with Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, purchased by collectors Henry and Arabella Huntington 100 years ago. A deep connection exists between the museum’s most famous painting and the artist who is known for creating one of the most beloved presidential portraits of our time. A native of Los Angeles, Wiley has often spoken about his childhood visits to The Huntington’s British portrait gallery and how they inspired him to become an artist. Richly illustrated with portraits by Wiley and by 18th-century masters such as Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, and Thomas Hudson, this book offers insight into the evolving history of portraiture and the representation of power. An essay by Malik Gaines, Associate Professor of Performance Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, investigates Wiley’s postmodern strategy of inserting Black subjects into canonical European settings. An essay by fashion historian Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell situates Wiley’s work within the traditions and trappings of eighteenth-century grand manner portraiture.

Melinda McCurdy is Curator of British Art at the Huntington Art Museum. 

  • 7 ½ x 9 ½”
  • Hardcover
  • 72 pages with 33 color illustrations