See ‘A Portrait of a Young Gentleman’ at The Huntington – NBC Los Angeles


What there is to know

  • Kehinde Wiley’s work, commissioned by the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanic Gardens, is on view until January 3, 2022
  • The Cultural Destination commissioned the LA artist to create the painting, a contemporary reflection on “The Blue Boy” by Thomas Gainsborough.
  • Reservations are required at the Huntington on weekends and holidays


At first glance, the universe of visual creation may appear to be a somewhat static plane, a place where works remain frozen in the time they were made, which means that our initial ideas and early reactions also remain unmoved. .

This little misunderstanding, of course, does not capture the true essence of art at all, whether for artists who boldly build new worlds with brushes and canvases or for admirers who turn to high art for find inspiration, new ideas, bigger windows to the world, and new routes to connect with each other.

A Portrait of a Young Gentleman by artist Kehinde Wiley, now on display at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanic Gardens, is a highly anticipated piece that inspires many of these new connections. and windows wide open.

Created to rethink “The Blue Boy” by Thomas Gainsborough in “a contemporary context”, the painting will be on display at the San Marino monument until January 3, 2022.

Brad Ogbonna

The Huntington commissioned the painting shortly after “The Blue Boy,” which can be seen opposite “A Portrait of a Young Gentleman,” underwent a complete, several-year renovation.

“Just as researchers come to The Huntington to study and reinterpret our important collections, with this commission we are delighted that Kehinde Wiley has re-examined our iconic work, ‘The Blue Boy’ and the portraits of Grand Manner in a powerful way.” , said the chairman of Huntington. Karen R. Lawrence.

“Across our library, art and botany collections, we invite perspectives that change the way we view tradition itself.”

The artist, who attended the Huntington’s when he was young, toured the many masterpieces on display in the destination’s elegant galleries.

The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanic Gardens

“The portraits made such an impression on Wiley that he would later incorporate their stylistic representations of wealth, fame and power into his own art practice, focusing on the black and brown bodies missing in museums that he he visited, ”The Huntington explained.

“I loved The Huntington Galleries; the paintings by Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable were some of my favorites,” said Wiley. “I was captivated by their imagery, their sheer spectacle and, of course, their beauty. When I started painting, I began to look at their technical skills – the manipulation of paint, color and the composition.”

“These portraits are hyperreal, with finely crafted facial detail, and the brushwork, clothing, and landscape fluid and playful. As I felt somewhat removed from the imagery – personally and culturally – I adopted a scientific approach and I had an aesthetic fascination with these paintings.

“This distance gave me a withdrawn freedom. Later, I began to reflect on the issues of desire, objectification and fantasy in portrayal and, of course, colonialism.”

Mr. Wiley’s portrait of President Barack Obama will be on display at the Resnick Pavilion of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in November 2021, as part of the Obama Portrait Tour, an event that also features the portrait of the Former First Lady Michelle Obama by artist Amy Sherald.

“The Blue Boy” will soon be leaving The Huntington, at least for a while. He heads to the National Gallery in London, “opening 100 years to the day when he left England for his new home in California”.

You can see “A Portrait of a Young Gentleman” daily, but note that The Huntington requires advance reservations on weekends and holidays. To find out more about tickets, reservations and visiting the cultural institution, click on.

This commission and its presentation are made possible by an Anonymous Foundation, Anne F. Rothenberg, Terry Perucca and Annette Serrurier, the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and the WHH Foundation. Additional support is provided by Laura and Carlton Seaver, Kent Belden and Dr Louis Re, as well as Faye and Robert Davidson.

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