27/05/2024 9:01 AM


Adorn your Feelings

Charlotte’s Mint Museum acquires prized painting

2 min read


UPTOWN CHARLOTTE ( QUEEN CITY NEWS) – He’s an artist who gained national attention when he was chosen to paint a portrait of former President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Kehinde Wiley was one of the first black artists chosen to paint an American president’s portrait.

“Every major museum in the U.S. has a painting by Kehinde Wiley,” said Mint Museum President and CEO, Todd Herman.

The Mint Museum in Charlotte officially acquired one of Wiley’s other pieces, and it’s one of their most expensive to date.

“I will say it’s among the highest-priced the Mint has ever paid for a single work of art,” said Herman.

Wiley paints with detail and delicacy.  One of his captivating, colorful, and intriguing pieces of art is now at Charlotte’s Mint Museum to stay.

“When you come up the escalator, you turn the corner, and you can’t NOT be captivated by this painting,” Herman said.

Kehinde Wiley grew to national fame when he painted Obama’s portrait a few years ago. 

He’s known for taking photos of random people he sees, particularly black men, and then comparing them to notable leaders from our past, through art.

“In this case, this figure in the painting is based on a 13th century stained glass window of ‘Philip the Fair,’” said Herman.  “Who was Philip the Fourth, King of France.”

Wiley’s work relates to people and raises questions about the society we live in.

“So there are a lot of questions he asks in his portraits,” said Herman.  “And it has inspired people to look closely and think more deeply about who we see portrayed and who we don’t.”

The painting has been at the Mint Museum since 2006, but the owner recently decided they might want to sell the masterpiece.  Since it had been at the Mint so long, the owner reached out to them first.

“There was a moment of panic,” said Herman.  “Because it’s so iconic for this museum and has been here so long.  We do have a very good relationship with the donor and we knew he wouldn’t sell it out from under us– which he didn’t.”

With the help of three donors, the Mint was able to come up with the funds to keep the crowd favorite forever.

“Now we own it,” said Herman.  “It’s so important, too, that when viewers come here, they see themselves.  Because these portraits tell stories.”


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