Barnes is regarded by art historians as one of the premier figurative artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries and one of the nation's foremost African American painters.
He's also one of the most collected artists in America.
Barnes' famous "Sugar Shack" dance scene, which appeared on a Marvin Gaye album and the closing credits of the "Good Times" television show, has been widely imitated.
For five years beginning in 1959, Barnes played in the AFL for the New York Titans (Jets), the Baltimore Colts, the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos.
According to Barnes' website, "In 1965, New York Jets owner Sonny Werblin recognized Barnes’ artistic potential and replaced his football salary for one season so he could devote himself 'to just paint.' One year later, Barnes made his debut in a critically acclaimed solo exhibition at Grand Central Art Galleries in Manhattan and retired from football."
Luz Rodriguez, who was Barnes' personal assistant, told City News Service that Barnes died Monday night at Cedars Sinai Medical Center after a brief illness.
Copyright City News Service