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    Museum, Gallery Shows Draw Wide Audience for Kehinde Wiley

    The upcoming show of 12 new works by Kehinde Wiley at the Sean Kelly Gallery in Manhattan (May 6–June 16) will overlap the well-received “Kehinde Wiley/The World Stage: Israel” show of 14 large-scale paintings by the artist, on view through July 29 at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan.

    NEW YORK—The upcoming show of 12 new works by Kehinde Wiley at the Sean Kelly Gallery in Manhattan (May 6–June 16) will overlap the well-received “Kehinde Wiley/The World Stage: Israel” show of 14 large-scale paintings by the artist, on view through July 29 at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. The pieces feature portraits of young Israeli men of diverse backgrounds, including the nine-foot-tall painting Alios Itzhak, 2011, acquired by the museum last summer.

    Visitors to the Sean Kelly gallery will see images that veer away from the customary Wiley subject, modern African American males surrounded by a rococo or otherwise art-historical background. Instead, these new works feature African American women, dressed in designer gowns. The works at the gallery range in price from $75,000/225,000, based on size. Overall, the artist’s oil on canvas paintings are priced from $40,000/325,000, while his 40-by-22-inch oil on paper works—which are not part of this exhibit—cost $40,000. Larger works on paper, some measuring 10 by 4 feet, are priced from $80,000/90,000.

    Most of the paintings at the Jewish Museum show were exhibited in April 2011 at Roberts & Tilton Gallery in Culver City, Calif., priced at $90,000 for the 4-by-3-foot paintings and $160,000 for the 8-by-7-foot works. With all ten paintings finding buyers, that show “did extremely well,” said gallery co-owner Julie Roberts.

    This is Sean Kelly’s first gallery exhibition of Wiley’s work, although it has represented the artist in New York since 2010. Another show of new work will be on display in November at Galerie Daniel Templon in France, one of the four galleries (the other is Rhona Hoffman in Chicago) that represents the artist’s work in the US and Europe. This will be the artist’s first gallery exhibit in Paris, according to Daniel Templon spokesperson Victoire Disderot, who noted that the gallery has shown and sold Wiley’s work at art fairs, such as FIAC (the annual contemporary art fair in Paris), as well as at Art Brussels.

    Wiley’s top public sale price to date is $122,500, for the 2006 oil and enamel on canvas St. Sebastian II (Columbus), realized at Phillips de Pury & Company in 2011 against an estimate of $80,000/120,000.