Barkley L. Hendricks (American, 1945–2017)
Misc. Tyrone (Tyrone Smith), 1976
Oil and Magna on canvas
72 × 50 in. (182.9 × 127 cm)
The George Economou Collection
© Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
The artist encountered Tyrone Smith in downtown Philadelphia and asked to take his photograph. As Hendricks recalled, Smith “went into a whole theatrical posing thing . . . it looked like a photo shoot.” The crowd that formed applauded when they finished. Working from the photographs in his studio, Hendricks set Smith’s angular pose against a vibrant pink background, inspired perhaps by his sense of his subject’s personality. Like many artists before him, Hendricks ventured onto the city streets for inspiration. Where artists such as Pisanello in fifteenth-century Italy and Jean-Baptiste Greuze in eighteenth-century France relied on drawing on paper to capture what they saw, Hendricks carried his camera as his “mechanical sketchbook.”