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Kehinde Wiley  New York, NY

* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

About Kehinde

Los Angeles native and New York-based visual artist Kehinde Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendant of a long line of portraitists’including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, and others’Wiley engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic, and sublime in his representation of urban black and brown men found throughout the world. By applying the visual vocabulary and conventions of glorification, wealth, prestige, and history to subject matter drawn from the urban fabric, Wiley makes his subjects and their stylistic references juxtaposed inversions of each other, imbuing his images with ambiguity and provocative perplexity.

Quick facts about Kehinde

In 2017, Kehinde was chosen to paint the official portrait for President Barack Obama.
Was awarded the Medal of Arts by the U.S. State Department in 2015.
He learned to paint the human body by copying the Old Master paintings.

Recommended by our guest curators

Sharon Dowell

Charlotte, NC artist

"I cannot simply walk past a Kehinde Wiley with his insertion of urban black and brown men in Renaissance poses into meticulously painted wallpaper backgrounds without pausing to ponder his portrayal of masculinity, power, history, Western, and non-Western traditions."

Kehinde appears in the following Top 10 lists


'New York'




10 of 29 reactions displayed


"Always a fan! Loved seeing his work in the Columbus Museum of Art, and I teach about his work (I'm a high school art teacher)"

"Thank you for showing the truth and the beauty of men of color."

"LOVE his work! His painting at the Columbus Museum of Art is my favorite, and I enjoy teaching about his work in Elementary school art classes."


"I don't believe I've ever seen anything so contradictory in my life. The finest example of art speaking for itself."

"Your sublime balance of masculine and feminine, soft and hard, muscle and flowers is really great, Kehinde Wiley. I will always remember seeing your recent show at the Studio Museum in Harlem. It was a hot day and the place was packed with visitors. They didn't let me snap any pictures and just as I arrived you were leaving. I can see you standing in the lobby now on your way out to dinner. I stood in front of your work with my jaw dropped. Honestly, I have never seen such great portraits in all my life including at the major museums in the city of New York. However you do it, it is sublime! Happy Holidays, Kehinde!"

"Such a peaceful beautiful interpretation."

"the realism in these paintings is admirable! but i feel like the flower power and the street guys kinda clash you know?"

"Love it!!"

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