Art means a lot to Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, as our brand is rooted in a 272-year Sotheby’s Auction House heritage. Thus we were thrilled to experience the latest exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum,Kehinde Wiley’s A New Republic. As the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) website describes, Wiley reworks the tradition of the portrait. His pieces, which range in medium and include paintings, stained glass and sculpture, “are highly stylized and staged, and draw attention to the dialectic between a history of aristocratic representation and the portrait as a statement of power and the individual’s sense of empowerment.”

Andrea Savage, Vice President of Marketing for RSIR, attended the exhibit and described it as a “vibrant representation brimming with intriguing contrasts.” For instance, as the SAM website says of Portrait of a Venetian Ambassador, Aged 59 II, 2006, there is a “contrast between the official role inferred by the title and the appearance of the young man.” The result is a contradiction in “class, demeanor, race, and age that is all wrapped up within a history portraiture.”

Portrait of a Venetian Ambassador, Aged 59, II, 2006, Kehinde Wiley

Portrait of a Venetian Ambassador, Aged 59, II, 2006, Kehinde Wiley

Another fascinating aspect of Wiley’s eye-catching art is his ability to experiment with gender roles, as he does when he places a beautiful woman into his portrait of Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness (Detail), 2013 below:

Wiley is also known for his aristocratic portraits, which follow styles typical from the 17th century. As SAM describes, “equestrian portraits [which Wiley implements in the paintings below] dated back to triumphal processions in imperial Rome and later became a popular portrait type of European kings and queens, surveying their lands and subjects.” By inserting urban black individuals into these works of art, Wiley counters the cultural imagination of the “stereotypical black man” and uses European cultural symbols to ultimately critique them.

Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps, 2005

Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps, 2005

Equestrian Portrait of King Phillip II (Michael Jackson), 2011

Equestrian Portrait of King Phillip II (Michael Jackson), 2011

Here are a few more photographs of our favorite pieces from the exhibition:

Click here for more details about Kehinde Wiley’s A New Republic >>

The exhibit will remain at the Seattle Art Museum until May 8th.

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