Ma Petite Kumquat

Portrait of a woman in a black shirt and pants with furry legwarmers holding a leopard print muff.

Barkley L. Hendricks (American, 1945–2017)
Ma Petite Kumquat, 1983
Oil, acrylic, white gold, and silver leaf on canvas
72 x 40 in. (182.9 x 101.6 cm)
Collection Ben and Jen Silverman
© Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.


Hendricks painted this portrait of his wife, Susan, shortly after the couple married. The title comes from the small orange fruit held in the sitter’s hand: “I needed an additional warm color. So that little piece of citrus...gave the painting just what it needed as well as its name.” Susan modeled both for photographs and for live sittings, and Hendricks later added accessories like the green curtain pull, bow tie, muff, leg warmers, and bows on the shoes. He applied the silver-leaf dots on the upper register using the back end of a pencil. On her modeling for this painting, Susan remarked, “You’d be amazed how hard it is to stand in high heels with your eyes closed.”

  538 — Speaker: Susan Hendricks
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