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The Frick Collection was one of Barkley's favorite museums. He would have been thrilled that his portraits will hang in conversation with the Old Masters who had such an influence on his technique.

Nasher Museum Director Trevor Schoonmaker, who organized the first career retrospective of Hendricks's paintings at the Nasher Museum in 2008 and also edited the accompanying 144-page catalogue, Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool.

Transcript

[On-screen question: What keeps you interested in a canonical painter like Rembrandt?]

Barkley L. Hendricks
It’s like good music! I mean, you can be replenished every time you hear it.

Same thing with great visuals. Rembrandt is a superb and noble visualist. I say noble — he paints people with nobility and there’s a range of people that are somewhat limited by the time he was painting. We spoke of it earlier and you asked a very important question as to people of color. Weren’t there any — we were talking about Velázquez earlier — at the time?

And I answered that question by saying, yeah, if you went down to the waterfront and looked at who was loading the barge and lifting the bales you would find. But Rembrandt was dealing with the monied folks of Holland.

[On-screen question: Why does “Interior with Saskia in Bed” resonate with you?

Well after visiting [Rembrandt’s] house in Amsterdam several times, we noted that the architectural scale was for small people. There were no double king-sized beds. There were narrow stairways and the scale of people was quite obviously small.

 

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