“Jacob de Graeff” (2018) by Kehinde Wiley


THE LATEST ADDITION to the collection of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is “Jacob de Graeff,” a large-scale portrait by Kehinde Wiley. Brincel Kape’li Wiggins Jr., is the subject of “Jacob de Graeff.” He wears a cap with “Ferguson,” the neighborhood where Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in 2014, across the front. Earlier this month, the museum acquired the 2018 portrait which will go on view in March.

“Jacob de Graeff” was featured in Wiley’s recent exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum. For “Kehinde Wiley: St. Louis,” the museum commissioned the artist to make a series of portraits with people from the surrounding community serving as subjects. The artist scouted North St. Louis and Ferguson and identified subjects for 11 portraits. Each painting he made was inspired by a historic portrait in the collection of the St. Louis museum.

Wiley’s paintings recast the art history canon by inserting people of color into “classic” European and American portraiture. His contemporary subjects appear in 21st century clothing against decorative backgrounds resembling old world tapestries.

Wiggins was among the real people Wiley selected from the St. Louis area to pose for him. In the portrait, he sports a Ferguson cap, stands with one hand on his hip and the other holding a walking stick. His stance references a portrait of Amsterdam Regent Jacob de Graeff (1642-1690) by 17th century Dutch artist Gerard ter Borch.

The Oklahoma City museum’s interest in acquiring a painting by Wiley dates from two years ago when it presented the artist’s 10-year survey exhibition, which was on view about the same time the artist was street casting in St. Louis.

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s interest in acquiring a painting by Kehinde Wiley dates from two years ago when it presented “A New Republic,” the artist’s 10-year survey exhibition.

“Wiley’s ‘Jacob de Graeff’ adds a significant work by one of America’s most prominent young artists,” Michael Whittington, the museum’s president and CEO, said when the acquisition was announced. “With our 2017 special exhibition, ‘Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic,’ we immediately set our sights on acquiring a work for our collection. When we saw this painting, it was love at first sight.”

The newly acquired painting will be displayed in “From the Golden Age to the Moving Image: The Changing Face of the Permanent Collection,” which opens March 1 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. CT


TOP IMAGE: KEHINDE WILEY (American, b. 1977), “Jacob de Graeff,” 2018 (oil on canvas). | Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Museum purchase with funds from the Carolyn A. Hill Collections Endowment and the Pauline Morrison Ledbetter Collections Endowment, 2018.103. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles California. Photo by Jean-Paul Torno, Courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum © Kehinde Wiley


A new exhibition catalog, “Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis,” was published to accompany the exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum. “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic” documents the artist’s 10-year survey, which was organized by the Brooklyn Museum and was presented at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in 2017. Wiley has also published a series of volumes titled The World Stage to coincide with exhibitions featuring his portraits of local people of color in urban capitals across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean.


Kehinde Wiley’s portrait was inspired by “Jacob de Graeff” (c. 1674) by Gerard ter Borch, from the collection of the St. Louis Art Museum. | Screenshot from Video by HEC Happening Now


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