October's Gone . . . Goodnight

Triple portrait of a woman in a white dress against a white background

Barkley L. Hendricks (American, 1945–2017)
October’s Gone . . . Goodnight, 1973
Oil and acrylic on canvas
66 × 72 in. (167.6 × 182.9 cm)
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Cambridge; Richard Norton Memorial Fund
© Barkley L. Hendricks and President and Fellows of Harvard College. Courtesy of the Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.


The Three Graces, figures from Greek mythology, was a popular motif for artists throughout early modern European art—from Sandro Botticelli to Peter Paul Rubens to Antonio Canova. Hendricks acknowledged the “direct influence” of the theme on this portrait of an unnamed Connecticut College student. She had sent anonymous letters to Hendricks, and, after he learned her identity, she posed for him. “She was married at the time,” he recalled, and her husband came to the studio. “I told him, ‘I am interested in painting, not messing around,’ and the brother never came back. And I finished the piece.” This is the earliest of Hendricks’s white-on-white limited-palette paintings.

  533 —  (1) Speaker: Linda McClellan (2) Speaker: Jack Shainman
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