Teacher Resources

Bring Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick into your classes this fall!

The prompts and discussion questions below invite students to engage with the exhibition from the classroom, on a visit to Frick Madison, or in a writing exercise. These questions are suggested for use in middle, high school, college, and university classes. We encourage you to adapt them for your curriculum.

Students ages 10–17, along with all City University of New York (CUNY) students and faculty, enjoy free admission to Frick Madison, which is open Thursday–Sunday. Learn more about discounted and free admission.

Group visits are also available, both online and in person. We ask that group reservations for parties of ten or more be made at least two weeks in advance. Please note that lecturing in the galleries is not permitted, and visitors should move through the museum in small clusters or individually to avoid crowding. Requests for free Online Guided Visits led by Frick educators can be made at frick.org/online_visits.

Exhibition Information

About the Artist: Barkley L. Hendricks

Objects in the Exhibition

Use the exhibition menu for additional resources for Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick, including audio, videos, a virtual tour, and information on related programs.

Prompts for Looking


  • Two figures in one portrait by Barkley L. Hendricks
  • Two portraits in the exhibition Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick
  • A portrait from the permanent collection and a portrait by Barkley L. Hendricks

Spend some time looking at each painting or portrait figure, then compare them. Consider the following questions:

  • How are the figures posed? What do their poses or expressions communicate to you?
  • What does the clothing, jewelry, or accessories of these figures communicate about their identities?
  • How does composition—the way figures and other objects are arranged in the painting—impact your understanding of these portraits? What about size or scale?

Questions for Reflection

  • Why do we create portraits? What does it mean to be represented in a portrait? Who has typically been represented in Western portraiture and why might it be particularly significant for Black subjects to be shown in portraits?
  • What do Hendricks’s paintings tell us about the personality or individuality of his subjects? What aspects or details of his paintings communicate identity or personhood?
  • The figures in Hendricks’s paintings are often silhouetted against monochromatic backgrounds. What effect does this have? How would the portraits be different if he had placed his subjects in specific settings?
  • How would you want to be portrayed? Alternatively, thinking of a person you know, how would you choose to represent them in a portrait?
  • Is there a portrait in the permanent collection that you think connects to one of Barkley L. Hendricks’s works, or feels meaningfully different? What do you see that makes you think that?
  • What is it like to see these paintings in the galleries of Frick Madison? What connections might you draw between these paintings and this setting, or between these paintings and other works in the permanent collection?

Download as a PDF

Please email schoolvisits@frick.org with questions or feedback.

Support for Online Visits for Schools, Colleges, and Universities is provided by the Christian Keesee Charitable Trust and Epstein Teicher Philanthropies.

Online Visits for Schools, Colleges, and Universities are also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

logo reads NYC Cultural Affairs   logo shows New York state image, reads New York State of Opportunity, Council on the Arts


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