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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Anthony of Padua

Courtesy of the artist and Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California

Anthony of Padua


Kehinde Wiley

American, born 1977

In this painting, Wiley reimagines Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s stained glass window of Saint Anthony in the Chapelle Saint-Ferdinand (Paris, 1842–43) as an African American man, in keeping with his practice of inviting young people whom he encounters in public spaces into his Harlem studio to model in their own attire. Ingres’s stained glass design shows Saint Anthony holding the infant Christ, a Bible, and a lily in a display of poverty and humility. Wiley pictures his sitter with a scepter and a book in a nod towards ideals of worldliness and empowerment. Reinforcing these notions of power are the patches on the man’s military-grade jacket, one of which references the Black Panther Party, founded in 1966 under an ideology of Black nationalism and self-defense against police brutality. By including the attributes of this sitter’s identity, Wiley is interrogating the conventions of portraiture that artists comfortably partake in and questioning the silent rules of art history.
Oil on canvas
72 × 60 in. (182.9 × 152.4cm)
Purchased with funds from the Contemporary Collectors Forum
Provenance: The artist; [Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California]; purchase by Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 2013
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryBrooklyn, New York, Brooklyn Museum, Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, Feb. 20 - May 24, 2015 (Fort Worth, Texas, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Sept. 20, 2015 - Jan. 10, 2016; Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Feb. 12 - May 8, 2016; Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, June 11 - Sept. 5, 2016; Phoenix, Arizona, Pheonix Art Museum, Oct. 7, 2016 - Jan. 8, 2017; Toledo, Ohio, Toledo Museum of Art, Feb. 10 - May 14, 2017; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, June 16 - Sept. 10, 2017). Text by Eugenie Tsai. No cat. no., pp. 21, 140-141, reproduced fig. 8 and pl. 51.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, American Art: The Stories We Carry, Oct. 20, 2022 - ongoing.
Published ReferencesSmith, Dr. James K.A. "Remembering Forward." Comment Magazine (Winter 2015): reproduced on cover.

Pierce, Jerald. "Re-imagining American art: Seattle Art Museum offers a more expansive, inclusive look at U.S. art." The Seattle Times, The Mix E5, October 30, 2022. [A version of this article appears online on October 25 with the headline: “How Seattle Art Museum is working to make its American art galleries more inclusive,”, reproduced.]

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