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Pro football player, actor, and author Ernie Barnes was a multi-talented, multi-faceted individual. He first began sketching when he was a self-described "chubby, unathletic kid." By age 22 he was playing for the champion Baltimore Colts and painting on the sidelines during timeouts. His first subjects were football players, inspiring his nickname " Big Rembrandt." This is one of his earlier works from the '60s, possibly from his first show in 1966. One of the most important African-American painters of the second half of the 20th Century and into the 21st, Barnes was known for his muscled, elongated forms expressing physical and spiritual struggles. His Early works such as this one were painted with a palette knife, and his original frames were simple. The painting itself exhibits the raw emotional drain of a lineman after the battle or perhaps beforehand in deep contemplation of what is to come. Barnes never painted eyes and this is true to form. The oil-on-canvas painting measures 18.5" x 25", is signed in the lower right and is in terrific condition. Barnes was the official artist of the 1984 Olympics.
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