Sisters (Susan and Toni)

Portrait of two women in dark pants and colorful shirts against a black background

Barkley L. Hendricks (American, 1945–2017)
Sisters (Susan and Toni), 1977
Oil and acrylic on canvas
66 × 48 in. (167.6 × 121.9 cm)
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Funds contributed by Mary and Donald Shockey, Jr.
© Barkley L. Hendricks and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Courtesy of the Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo Travis Fullerton.



Hendricks met the subjects in Boston. A comparison of the painting with photographs he took of the women—outside, against a wood-paneled wall—shows that he changed the colors of the hat and headscarf to match each woman’s shirt, limiting the range of colors in the composition, in which a deep gray predominates. He paid close attention to the rendering of their jewelry, especially reflections in the metal. A tiny reflection of the woman wearing green appears in the spherical earring of the woman in blue.

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