The Petit Palais, organized with the support of Galerie Templon, held the first solo exhibition in

France of the work by Afro-American artist Kehinde Wiley. The exhibition featured a previously unseen series of ten monumental works, in the form of stained glass windows and paintings, showcased at the heart of the museum’s permanent collections.

Kehinde Wiley draws on the tradition of classical painting masters such as Titan, Van Dyck, Ingres and David to create portraits drenched in color and abounding in adornment. The subjects are young Black and mixed-race people, anonymous models encountered during adhoc street castings. The result is a collision where art history and popular culture come face to face. The artist eroticizes the invisible, those traditionally excluded from representations of power, endowing them with hero status. His work takes the vocabulary of power and prestige in a new direction, oscillating between politically-charged critique and an avowed fascination with the luxury and bombast of our society’s symbols.

For the Petit Palais show, Kehinde Wiley continues to explore religious iconography, with references to Christ and, for the first time, the figure of the Virgin. Six stained glass windows will be installed on a hexagonal structure in the large format gallery. They will be accompanied by three monumental paintings displayed on the walls of one of the ground floor rooms housing 19th century collections.