Henry Taylor, Celebrated Painter of Shrewd Portraits, Heads to Hauser & Wirth

Henry Taylor, Celebrated Painter of Shrewd Portraits, Heads to Hauser & Wirth

Having quickly risen to prominence over the past decade as one of the finest painters of his generation, Los Angeles-based painter Henry Taylor is headed to one of the world’s four largest galleries, Hauser & Wirth, which currently has locations in eight cities , including New York, London, and Zurich, as well as a planned one for the island of Menorca.

Hauser & Wirth will work in collaboration with Taylor’s gallery of the past decade, the Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo based Blum and Poe. Cofounder Tim Blum said, “After an incredibly fruitful 10 years of success together, Blum and Poe is pleased, going forward, to continue to do great work alongside Hauser & Wirth.”

Over the past year and a half, Taylor has had solo shows at Blum and Poe’s spaces in Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo, as well as the release of a monumental monograph co-published with Rizzoli. And the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles is currently planning a major survey exhibition of his work

Taylor, who was born in 1958, has received acclaim for his portraits, many of which feature Black Americans. Before he became known as a painter, he spent ten years working as a technician at Camarillo State Mental Hospital, where he was constantly drawing. Because of their hard-to-describe aesthetic, which often features facial features that are not entirely rendered and backgrounds that are left drippy and amateurish-looking, critics have had difficulty describing his paintings.

As Zadie Smith put it in a New Yorker profile in 2018, “He is described by others with labels he mostly rejects—outsider, portraitist, protest painter, folk artist.” His subjects have included actress Cicely Tyson and jazz musician Miles Davis, Philando Castile, and Bobby Hutton, who acted as the Black Panthers’ first treasurer.

Taylor’s prices have been rising steadily at auction over the past few years. His auction record, set in November last year, stands just shy of $240,000. His work has found curry with collectors, curators, and critics. A survey exhibition of his work appeared at PS 1, the sister institution to the Museum of Modern Art, in 2011. His work appeared in the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the 2019 Venice Biennale—two of the most sought-after showcases on the international circuit.


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