Though he is known for his portraiture, Hendricks is a consummate draftsman, particularly of the female nude, as well as a talented landscape painter. He is also an avid photographer. At Yale, he says, he “spent more time with photographers than with painters,” including a year of study with Walker Evans. “I was the only student that brought in a tondo photograph. Everyone else was doing squares and rectangles.” While he considers the camera primarily a “mechanical sketchbook,” he has photographed many memorable portraits of jazz greats, such as Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and Canonball Adderley. (“Birth of the Cool,” the subtitle of the Nasher exhibition, is the title of a famous Miles Davis album.) Hendricks himself is a dedicated musician who plays drums, saxophone, and trumpet with local groups. He met his wife, Susan, in a jazz club and married her in 1982.
From the Archives: A Studio Visit with Barkley L. Hendricks, in 2008
The Editors of ARTnews, ARTnews, April 20, 2017