Kehinde Wiley’s new Painting at Philbrook

Equestrian Portrait of King Philip IV, 2016-2017 by Kehinde Wiley

I was running around at lunch Thursday and decided to pop in to the Philbrook Museum to check out their new acquisition of Kehinde Wiley’s “Equestrian Portrait of King Philip IV.” I’ve seen several photographs of it but you know, with paintings you really have to be be there.

The painting is huge. It takes up a whole wall. It shows a black man in a modern urban camo outfit atop a horse in a classic pose, complete with a sword. The rest of the painting could have come from a few hundred years ago. It is obvious that the painter is skilled and I didn’t have the “Are you kidding me” reaction I get sometimes with modern art. Wiley has been chosen to paint President Obama’s portrait to be unveiled this year.

The subject in the painting is very engaging. He is kind of half glancing at the room and that has changes the tone from your usual painting. And the painting’s colors are vivid and the paint seems so fresh it sparkles.  It is a striking work.  And yet I worry about how this work will age. Will it still be on display in 50 years or will it be stuck in storage somewhere. I know it is modern art, and nobody knows how modern art is going to “age.” So I am glad that they went got this instead of something “safer.”

I highly recommend that you check this painting out for yourself. Like I said it is a very striking work of art.

5 thoughts on “Kehinde Wiley’s new Painting at Philbrook

  1. Amy

    I do’nt quite know how I feel about it, perhaps I need to study it more and get my head around the possibilities, but it certainly is different.

  2. Driller's Place

    I love having Crystal Bridges Museum here in Bentonville. I never know what I am going to see on my next visit. There is a new exhibit now that I need to go see. One has to wonder if the Obama portrait will be traditional or have a unique twist like the example above.

  3. Ellen

    Hmm…you have to wonder what the artist is trying to express. It is beautifully done though. I struggle with most modern art.

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