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This volume presents A Portrait of a Young Gentleman, a new portrait by Kehinde Wiley (born 1977), commissioned to mark the centennial of the acquisition of Blue Boy by Henry and Arabella Huntington. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens places Wiley's painting in conversation with Thomas Gainsborough's 18th-century masterpiece. 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 18th-century grand manner portraiture.