Art means a lot to us, as our brand is rooted in a 272-year Sotheby’s Auction House heritage. Thus we were thrilled to explore the latest exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, Kehinde Wiley’s A New Republic. As the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) website describes, Wiley reworks the tradition of the portrait. His pieces, which range in medium and include paintings, stained glass and sculpture, “are highly stylized and staged, and draw attention to the dialectic between a history of aristocratic representation and the portrait as a statement of power and the individual’s sense of empowerment.”
A fascinating aspect of Wiley’s eye-catching art is his ability to experiment with gender roles, as he does when he places a beautiful woman into his portrait of Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness (Detail), 2013 below:
Wiley is also known for his aristocratic portraits, which follow styles typical from the 17th century. As SAM describes, “equestrian portraits [which Wiley implements in the paintings below] dated back to triumphal processions in imperial Rome and later became a popular portrait type of European kings and queens, surveying their lands and subjects.” By inserting urban black individuals into these works of art, Wiley counters the cultural imagination of the “stereotypical black man” and uses European cultural symbols to ultimately critique them.
Click here for more details about Kehinde Wiley’s A New Republic >>
The exhibit will remain at the Seattle Art Museum until May 8th.