Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson is an American artist who currently exhibits his artwork in galleries and museums nationwide and abroad. His paintings are in the private and public permanent collections of several notable institutions including the Muskegon Museum of Art, The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the International Olympic Committee, and the US House of Representatives.

Nelson has created artwork for a host of distinguished clients including Sports Illustrated, The Coca–Cola Company, The United States Postal Service, Major League Baseball, and Dreamworks SKG as the lead conceptual artist creating for Steven Spielberg’s Oscar® nominated feature film, “Amistad”. Recently, Nelson created the cover artwork for the New Yorker magazine, which featured the late Nelson Mandela. He also created cover artwork for Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album, “Michael,” and recording artist Drake’s, “Nothing Was The Same.”

Nelson has also authored and illustrated several award–winning NYT Best–Selling picture books including, “WE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball” and “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.”

Nelson states, “I feel that art’s highest function is that of a mirror, reflecting the innermost beauty and divinity of the human spirit; and is most effective when it calls the viewer to remember one’s highest self. I choose subject matter that has emotional and spiritual resonance and focuses on the journey of the hero as it relates to the personal and collective stories of people.“

I’ve been an admirer of Kadir’s work for many years. He’s one of the best young artists of our time.
- Jackie Jackson (Michael Jackson’s eldest brother)
Kadir Nelson is a remarkable artist with a great talent for both painting and powerful storytelling. His work conveys deep emotion, humanity, and a sensitivity that is rare, while at the same time creating a rich context of history and culture within each painting. You feel a connection to his subjects and a desire to know more of the story that they each represent. One of our most successful exhibitions in recent years was We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball which featured Nelson’s larger-than-life original paintings from his book of the same name. Kadir’s paintings captured the hearts and minds of our visitors, and left them wanting more. We are very proud to have three of his paintings now in our Permanent Collection.
- Judith Hayner, Executive Director Muskegon Museum of Art
Kadir Nelson is one of the most gifted and inspiring artists of our time. Already highly celebrated, collected, and honored, we look forward to his new exhibit.
- Norm Nixon and Debbie Allen, Former NBA Champion, Director, Producer, Choreographer
Because of Kadir Nelson, I am running out of wall space — and so are my relatives. Mercifully, this is a good thing.
- John Moores, Sr. Entrepreneur, Philantrhopist, Former owner of the San Diego Padres
Kadir Nelson is one of my favorite new generational artists and has the promise of longevity.
- John McClain, Music Executive, Producer

List of Collectors

The Estate of Michael Jackson

United States House of Representatives

United States Postal Service

United States Sports Academy

International Olympic Committee

Jamal Williams

Katt Williams

Chris Webber

Bernard & Shirley Kinsey

National Baseball Hall of Fame

Rachel Robinson

Sharon Stone

Shaquille O’Neal

Eddie & Nicole Murphy

John & Rebecca Moores

San Diego Padres

Berry Gordy

Debbie & Norman Nixon

Will & Jada Smith

Denzel & Pauletta Washington

Raphael Saddiq

Kate & Steven Spielberg

Ray Allen

Spike & Tonya Lee

Venus Williams

Lil Kim

San Diego Padres

Ice Cube

Jalen Rose

Bertice Berry

Ananda Lewis

Darryl Strawberry

Dreamworks SKG

Tina & Harold Lewis

Queen Latifah

Negro League Baseball Museum

John McClain

Coca-Cola Corporation

Nona Gaye

Jan Gaye

Tyrese Gibson

Antwone Fisher

Byrma Braham

Keith Davis

Skill Centers of America

Terry Lewis

Mr. & Mrs. Darrell Williams

Debra & Darrell Gunter

Verlee Gunter-Moore

Shermaine & Rodney Gary

Geri Bauer

Howard Smiley

Walter Latham

NCCU Foundation

Westmont College

Marsha Walters

Dr. Eugene & Roberta Thompson

Mr. & Mrs. Ricardo Thompson

Don Cheadle

Robert Breitbard Foundation

Frank Darabont

Ed Gordon

Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Djimon Hounsou

Available Works

Sold Works


Search for an Artist or Artwork by Category


Illuminate II

36" x 48" / 91.4 x 121.9cm
Acrylic on Canvas


48.5" x 65" / 123.2 x 165.1cm
Oil on Canvas

7 a.m.

40" x 40" / 101.6 x 101.6cm
Acrylic on Canvas


30" x 24" / 76.2 x 61cm
Charcoal, Colored Pencil, Gouache, Watercolor on Rag Board

The Coop (Fourth in a Suite of Untoward Occurrences on Monhegan Island)

45" x 30" / 114.3 x 76.2cm
Oil on Canvas

Arnold Schwarzenegger 1977

45.5" x 36" / 115.6 x 91.4cm
Charcoal on Cardboard

Locomotive of Kenyon

96" x 96" / 243.8 x 243.8cm
Oil on Canvas


40" x 30" / 101.6 x 76.2cm
Oil on Canvas


40" x 30" / 101.6 x 76.2cm
Oil on Canvas


84" x 127" / 213.4 x 322.6cm
Oil, Mixed Media

Dog Day

40" x 30" / 101.6 x 76.2cm
Oil on linen on birch

La Promesse

36" x 36" / 91.4 x 91.4cm
Oil on panel


40" x 40" / 101.6 x 101.6cm
Acrylic on Canvas

Kravn to stay free and live

71" x 61" / 180.3 x 154.9cm
Acrylic on Canvas

Listen Here Cuzzo

14" x 14" / 35.6 x 35.6cm
Acrylic on Canvas


14" x 14" / 35.6 x 35.6cm
Acrylic on Canvas

Chasing The Moon – Limited Edition Hand Signed Print

39 x 46 in, 99.06 x 116.84 cm


The Sailor and The Desiring Soul

30" x 40" / 76.2 x 101.6cm
Oil and Beeswax on Canvas

Motions of Grace

86" x 60" / 218.4 x 152.4cm
Oil on Linen

The Artist’s Wig II

68" x 50" / 172.7 x 127cm
Acrylic pastel and charcoal on paper mounted on canvas


40" x 40" / 101.6 x 101.6cm
Oil on Linen


17" x 30" / 43.2 x 76.2cm
Colored Pencil on Paper


19" x 28" / 48.3 x 71.1cm
Colored Pencil on Paper


30" x 20" / 76.2 x 50.8cm
Colored Pencil on Paper


28" x 19" / 71.1 x 48.3cm
Colored Pencil on Paper

The Standoff

24" x 18" / 61 x 45.7cm
Oil on wood panel


10" x 8" / 25.4 x 20.3cm
Oil on linen panel

Black Gold

52" x 33" x 10" / 132.1 x 83.8cm x 25.4cm
Portrait painted in oil on wood panel. Constructed wooden box frame, fabric, leather, 23k gold leaf lettering, brass hardware, authentic 1900’s coffee grinder

Bantu Belle

58" x 41" / 147.3 x 104.1cm
Portrait painted in oil on wood panel, wood and metal constructed box frame, brass hardware, gold leaf frame, cloth fabric, antique tailor scissors, stained wood

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