A big part of what I'm questioning in my work is what does it meant to be authentic, to be real, to be a genuine article or an absolute fake? What does it mean to be a real black man? Realness is a term applied so heavily to black men in our society. --Kehinde Wiley
Wiley’s lavish, larger-than-life images of African-American men play on Old Master paintings. His realistic portraits offer the spectacle and beauty of traditional European art while simultaneously critiquing their exclusion of people of color.
Wiley’s Willem van Heythuysen quotes a 1625 painting of a Dutch merchant by Frans Hals, whose bravura portraits helped define Holland’s Golden Age. Wiley’s model, from Harlem, New York, here takes the name of the original sitter from Harlem, the Netherlands, whose pose and attitude he mimics. Despite the wide gold frame and the vibrantly patterned background whose Indian-inspired tendrils encircle his legs, this subject’s stylish Sean John street wear and Timberland boots keep him firmly in the present and in urban America.
LA ART in New York, Roberts and Tilton, LA Art Fair, Altman Building, New York, NY, March 10 - 12, 2006
Tsai, Eugenie, et al. Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic. New York: Prestel, 2015. (No. 7, pp 50-510).
VMFA Special Advertising Section. Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2013. (Cover).
Ravenal, John B. Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2007. (Pp. 110-111).
Ravenal, John. “Recently Acquired, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Kehinde Wiley's Willem van Heythuysen." Blackbird, September 13, 2007.
Lazarus, Jeremy M. "Hip Hop at VMFA." Richmond Free Press, July 13-15, 2006. (P. B3).
Neman, Daniel. "Museum acquisitions are diverse." Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sunday, June 11, 2006. (P. H6).
“Jazzy Sunday Set for VMFA.” Richmond Free Press, Feb 7-9, 2008.
 Accessioned May 18, 2006. See VMFA Curatorial file.
Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.