APB's (Afro-Parisian Brothers)

Portrait of two men, one in jeans and a sweater, the other in a suit, against a lavender background.

Barkley L. Hendricks (American, 1945–2017)
APB's (Afro-Parisian Brothers), 1978
Oil and acrylic on canvas
72 × 50 in. (182.9 × 127 cm)
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund
© Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.


Hendricks encountered the subjects in Paris, recalling, “There was a style at the time with the long, slit-back suits that you saw a lot of tall, graceful African brothers wearing, and these gentlemen were gracious enough to allow me to photograph them.” He paid close attention to the depiction of their clothing, from the various textures and materials to the creases that animate a pant leg. Describing his approach to painting the illusion of denim, he remarked: “No one paints jeans like me, with the consciousness of the fact that jeans are a material that is worn rather than painted. When I say ‘worn’ I mean the way the denim actually looks.” To attain the effect of denim in this painting, he engaged the texture of the canvas itself, noting that “the art of painting is not only about putting paint down.”

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