OKCMOA Acquires Portrait by Kehinde Wiley and Still Life by Jan van Kessel the Elder

OKCMOA has acquired two significant works of art that are different, yet complementary. Together, “Jacob de Graeff” by Kehinde Wiley (2018) and “Still Life with Fruits, Flowers, Game and Fish (Vase of flowers, furred and feathered game, fruit cups with a guinea pig and a parrot)” by Jan van Kessel the Elder (mid-17th century) represent the diversity of the Museum’s permanent collection. “Jacob de Graeff” will be displayed beginning March 1. After conservation, “Still Life with Fruits, Flowers, Game and Fish” will be shown later this spring.
“Wiley’s ‘Jacob de Graeff’ adds a significant work by one of America’s most prominent young artists,” said E. Michael Whittington, president and CEO. “With our 2017 special exhibition, ‘Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic,’ we immediately set our sights on acquiring a work for our collection. When we saw this painting, it was love at first sight.”
Wiley was the artist chosen by President Barack Obama to paint his official portrait after he left office. Wiley’s colorful, hyper-realistic and whimsical style made his portrait of the president a wild and celebrated departure from previous portraits.
“‘Still Life with Fruits, Flowers, Game and Fish’ will find a wonderful home among the diverse works of still life in our upcoming gallery devoted to this genre,” Whittington continued. “This delightful painting has a great variety of engaging small details which encourages active and close looking. We are grateful to Ross M. Coe, Ward I. Coe and Charles R. Coe, Jr. for donating this beautiful work to the Museum. These two paintings, one inspired by a Dutch 17th century artist and the other created by a Flemish 17th century artist are important additions to our growing collection.”
“Jacob de Graeff” is one of 11 new portraits commissioned for and currently on view within the Saint Louis Art Museum’s “Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis” exhibition. The portrait features street-casted Brincel Kape’li Wiggins, Jr., and is modeled on 17th century Dutch artist Gerard ter Borch’s portrait of Jacob de Graeff.
Jan van Kessel the Elder was a Flemish painter born in Antwerp in 1626. The grandson of Jan Brueghel the Elder, van Kessel was admitted to the Antwerp guild of painters in 1644. “Still Life with Fruits, Flowers, Game and Fish” was completed around this time and is representative of his meticulous style and preference for copper surface.
“Jacob de Graeff” will be on display on the second floor as part of the Museum’s exciting new presentation of its permanent collection. Wiley’s painting will anchor a new portrait gallery that also features works by Anthony van Dyck, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and George Bellows.
Credit: Kehinde Wiley (American, b. 1977). Jacob de Graeff, 2018. Oil on canvas. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Museum purchase with funds from the Carolyn A. Hill Collections Endowment and the Pauline Morrison Ledbetter Collections Endowment, 2018.103. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles California. Photo: Jean-Paul Torno, courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum © Kehinde Wiley.