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Portrait Paintings

Portraiture has been around since the dawn of the Renaissance. As a symbol of wealth, it became more prevalent as capitalism took its grip in Europe. Early portraits showed wealthy arts patrons beholding major religious events.

By the 1600s, portrait artists were in high demand. Anthony Van Dyck of Flanders served as court painter to Charles I, and his style influenced oil portrait painters across Europe. In the Netherlands, Frans Hals painted the noble and other conservative patrons who wanted a portrait without ostentatious display.

Naturalistic portraits emerged during the Rococo period. Thomas Gainsborough’s portraits convey the naturalism popular in France with a gentle storm-and-drama edge. Later, more conservative neoclassical portraiture style celebrated scientific understanding of depth and lighting. Portraiture became more and more abstract in the 20th century, such as the work of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.


Quick Facts

  • By the 19th century, portraiture was so popular that art critics complained about seeing it too much in the Paris salons
  • In 2006, Ronald Lauder paid $135 million for Gustav Klimt’s "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer," 1907, and placed it on permanent public display at the Neue Galerie in New York
  • Artist Chuck Close has re-invigorated contemporary portrait painting images with arrays of colored geometric forms, like a cross between the Pointillist dot and Lichtenstein’s circles

Recommended Items at Auction

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CUBIST ARGENTINIAN OIL PAINTING BY EMILIO PETTORUTI
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
CUBIST ARGENTINIAN OIL PAINTING BY EMILIO PETTORUTI
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$2,20017 Bids
1977 VIETNAMESE PORTRAIT PAINTING BY VU CAO DAM
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
1977 VIETNAMESE PORTRAIT PAINTING BY VU CAO DAM
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$1,30011 Bids
Attributed to Emma Ciardi. Woman with Parasol, oil
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
Attributed to Emma Ciardi. Woman with Parasol, oil
by Alex Cooper
Est: $500- $700
$90010 Bids
Antique early 20C American oil painting
Apr 07, 11:45 AM EDT
Antique early 20C American oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $320- $400
$2808 Bids
Two unframed oval watercolor portraits
Feb 28, 9:00 AM EST
Two unframed oval watercolor portraits
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$1608 Bids
Alex De Andreis (France,Belgium,UK,1880-1929) oil painting antique
Apr 14, 11:45 AM EDT
Alex De Andreis (France,Belgium,UK,1880-1929) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $1,800- $2,300
$3007 Bids
Jacob Maentel watercolor portrait
Feb 28, 9:00 AM EST
Jacob Maentel watercolor portrait
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $200- $300
$3006 Bids
Pair of oil on canvas portraits by R B Crafft - Kentucky or Indiana
Mar 17, 6:00 PM EDT
Pair of oil on canvas portraits by R B Crafft - Kentucky or Indiana
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$2756 Bids
European School , (19th Century), Portrait of The Young St George, Oil on canvas
Mar 11, 11:00 AM AEDT
European School , (19th Century), Portrait of The Young St George, Oil on canvas
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD200- AUD400
AUD4505 Bids
JUDAICA PORTRAIT OIL PAINTING BY EMMANUEL MANE-KATZ
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
JUDAICA PORTRAIT OIL PAINTING BY EMMANUEL MANE-KATZ
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$1505 Bids
Nantucket School Portrait Of A Sailor, Oil On Canvas, Framed 24"x20"
Feb 27, 6:00 PM EST
Nantucket School Portrait Of A Sailor, Oil On Canvas, Framed 24"x20"
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$305 Bids
Grigory Chainikov (RUSSIA 1960-2008) Portrait Oil
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
Grigory Chainikov (RUSSIA 1960-2008) Portrait Oil
by Joshua Kodner
Est: $500- $1,000
$1004 Bids
Georges Rouault (French, 1871-1958) - Étude pour le Portrait de Marie Thérèse Bonney
Feb 27, 12:00 PM EST
Georges Rouault (French, 1871-1958) - Étude pour le Portrait de Marie Thérèse Bonney
by Freeman's | Hindman
Est: $20,000- $30,000
$10,0004 Bids
Henning Ryden (Swedish, 1869-1938), Portrait of a child, oil on canvas, 15 3/4 x 12in (40 x 30.5cm)
Feb 29, 10:00 AM PST
Henning Ryden (Swedish, 1869-1938), Portrait of a child, oil on canvas, 15 3/4 x 12in (40 x 30.5cm)
by Andrew Jones Auctions
Est: $100- $150
$5004 Bids
Karl Calzada (Austria,1824-?) oil painting
Apr 14, 11:45 AM EDT
Karl Calzada (Austria,1824-?) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $2,300- $2,900
$303 Bids
AN OTTOMAN PORTRAIT OF SULTAN MURAD II, 18TH CENTURY, OIL ON CANVAS
Feb 28, 1:00 PM GMT
AN OTTOMAN PORTRAIT OF SULTAN MURAD II, 18TH CENTURY, OIL ON CANVAS
by Plakas Auctions
Est: £4,000- £6,000
£3,5003 Bids
ANTIQUE 18TH C ENGLISH MALE PORTRAIT OIL PAINTING
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
ANTIQUE 18TH C ENGLISH MALE PORTRAIT OIL PAINTING
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$803 Bids
American School, oil on canvasboard portrait
Mar 08, 10:00 AM EST
American School, oil on canvasboard portrait
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $70- $100
$503 Bids
JECHESKIEL DAWID KIRSZENBAUM (POLISH, 1900-1954), Jewish Scholar 1946
Mar 03, 11:00 AM AEDT
JECHESKIEL DAWID KIRSZENBAUM (POLISH, 1900-1954), Jewish Scholar 1946
by Gibson's
Est: AUD500- AUD800
AUD6003 Bids
Antique Portrait
Mar 02, 9:00 AM EST
Antique Portrait
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$153 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Portrait Paintings


Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Broward Auction Gallery LLC

De Francesco Casa D'Aste e Galleria

De Francesco Casa D'Aste e Galleria

Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

Setdart Auction House

Setdart Auction House