Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Popular Kehinde Wiley Show Leaves Something Behind: St. Louis Art Museum Buys Painting

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Popular Kehinde Wiley Show Leaves Something Behind: St. Louis Art Museum Buys Painting

Article excerpt

Wellston resident Ashley Cooper now has a second home -- the St. Louis Art Museum.

Portrayed in a painting called "Charles I" by Kehinde Wiley, Cooper was one of several St. Louisans who posed for the artist.

The art museum announced Wednesday that it purchased "Charles I" for $200,000.

The Wiley exhibit, made up of 11 large original works, ended Feb. 10.

Last October, Cooper, then 31, said that she had been at a Little Caesars pizzeria when Wiley asked if she'd like to be photographed. He said she would be paid.

"I was like, 'Is this a joke?'"

Cooper and her sister, Shontay Haynes, went to the museum in 2017 for the photo shoot, a process Wiley calls "street casting." He asked a number of local African-American residents to pose for pictures. The poses reference classical works in the St. Louis museum's collection.

"Charles I" with Cooper is one of two portraits Wiley painted based on a 1633 portrait of the English king by Daniel Martensz Mytens the Elder.

Shontay Haynes ended up being depicted in "Portrait of a Florentine Nobleman." The works were painted from the photos; colorful, formal wallpaper-like backgrounds were added.

Wiley's work puts contemporary African-Americans into the kind of portraits usually reserved for kings or wealthy noblemen and the like.

"Wiley's paintings welcome African-Americans, Africans and people of the African diaspora into the space of the canvas and assert their right to occupy that space," Hannah Klemm said in a news release about the acquisition. Klemm is the museum's assistant curator for modern and contemporary art. …

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