Sisters (Susan and Toni) (Primary Title)

Barkley L. Hendricks, American, 1945 - 2017 (Artist)

Oil and acrylic on canvas
Overall (The painting does not have a frame): 66 × 48 in. (167.64 × 121.92 cm)

"I was inspired by the masters and how they painted, but there was an absence of people I could recognize." —Barkley Hendricks

Although well known to aficionados of realist painting and those within the African American art world, Hendricks’swork long eluded wider recognition because his style, for most of his career, ran counter to the prevailing trends of abstraction, Pop, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and Postminimalism.

Hendricks’s portraits feature everyday people, most often friends and family. Generally he places a single figure, built up with thin translucent layers of oil paint, against a single-color background painted with acrylics. Sisters (Susan and Toni) is a rare example of a double portrait. This painting of two stylish women Hendricks met in Boston belongs to a series of works with dark backgrounds, against which the bright shirts and jewelry pop.

Signed B. Hendricks '77 in upper right corner
Funds contributed by Mary and Donald Shockey, Jr.
Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, Paintings 1964- 2007, Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC, February 7 – July 13, 2008; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, November 12, 2008 – March 15, 2009; Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA, May 16 – August 22, 2009; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, October 17, 2009 – January 3, 2010; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX, January 30 – April 18, 2010

Barkley L. Hendricks: Oils, Watercolors, Collages, and Photographs, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, January 20 – March 30, 1980

The Southern New England Invitational Art Exhibition 1978, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT
Collection of the artist, New London, CT; [1] (Jack Shainman Gallery, New York), by 2009; [2] Purchased by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond, Virginia in 2010. [3]

[1] See exhibition checklist in Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool (Durham: Nasher Museum of Art, 2008).

[2] Jack Shainman Gallery has represented the artist since 2009 (

[3] Accession date May 26, 2010.

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