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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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SIGNED "THE DANCER" ORIGINAL OIL ON CANVAS IN THE STYLE OF GUSTAV KLIMT
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
SIGNED "THE DANCER" ORIGINAL OIL ON CANVAS IN THE STYLE OF GUSTAV KLIMT
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$2808 Bids
Großes Bildnis einer Adligen.
Oct 30, 9:00 AM CEST
Großes Bildnis einer Adligen.
by Auktionshaus Wendl
Est: €0- €0
€2,2008 Bids
Francisco Toledo (Mexican, B. 1940) Oil on Canvas Painting
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Francisco Toledo (Mexican, B. 1940) Oil on Canvas Painting
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $200- $2,000
$1806 Bids
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James TISSOT Nantes, 1836 - Chenecey- Buillon,1902 Portrait de Kathleen Newton Toile d'origine
Nov 09, 6:00 PM CET
James TISSOT Nantes, 1836 - Chenecey- Buillon,1902 Portrait de Kathleen Newton Toile d'origine
by Artcurial
Est: €10,000- €15,000
€11,5005 Bids
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ROBERT LEBRON FAMILY PORTRAIT OIL ON CANVAS
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
ROBERT LEBRON FAMILY PORTRAIT OIL ON CANVAS
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$855 Bids
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FRIEDRICH AUGUST KAULBACH MOTHER & CHILD WATERCOLOR & GOUACHE ON CARDBOARD
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
FRIEDRICH AUGUST KAULBACH MOTHER & CHILD WATERCOLOR & GOUACHE ON CARDBOARD
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$804 Bids
UNKNOWN ARTIST: TWO RACEHORSE PORTRAITS
Oct 28, 9:00 AM PDT
UNKNOWN ARTIST: TWO RACEHORSE PORTRAITS
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $200
$3504 Bids
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RUDIE VAN BRUSSEL FEMALE FIGURES OIL ON CANVAS
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
RUDIE VAN BRUSSEL FEMALE FIGURES OIL ON CANVAS
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$353 Bids
Pal Fried (NY,CA,Hungary,1893-1976) oil painting
Nov 14, 11:45 AM EST
Pal Fried (NY,CA,Hungary,1893-1976) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery
Est: $2,400- $3,000
$1,6003 Bids
Lois Mailou Jones (1905 - 1998) Haitian Artist OIl
Oct 31, 1:00 PM EDT
Lois Mailou Jones (1905 - 1998) Haitian Artist OIl
by Time Auction
Est: $200- $5,000
$3253 Bids
Miniature watercolor portrait of a gentleman
Oct 29, 9:00 AM EDT
Miniature watercolor portrait of a gentleman
by Pook & Pook, Inc.
Est: $120- $160
$803 Bids
Antique Signed Oil on Canvas Painting
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique Signed Oil on Canvas Painting
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $20- $200
$603 Bids
Deutsche Schule 18. Jh.: Zwei Bildnisse.
Oct 28, 9:00 AM CEST
Deutsche Schule 18. Jh.: Zwei Bildnisse.
by Auktionshaus Wendl
Est: €0- €0
€1303 Bids
Pal Fried (NY,CA,Hungary,1893-1976) oil painting
Nov 14, 11:45 AM EST
Pal Fried (NY,CA,Hungary,1893-1976) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery
Est: $2,400- $3,000
$1,6002 Bids
Portrait of Captain William Hansford, R.N.
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Portrait of Captain William Hansford, R.N.
by South Bay Auctions Inc
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5002 Bids
Bela Czobel
Nov 06, 7:00 PM EET
Bela Czobel
by Tiroche Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1502 Bids
ROY LICHTENSTEIN (AFTER) HAND PAINTED POP ART
Oct 30, 3:00 PM EDT
ROY LICHTENSTEIN (AFTER) HAND PAINTED POP ART
by RB Fine Arts
Est: $500- $2,000
$2802 Bids
ADELAIDE COLE CHASE, (American, 1868-1944), The Two Alices, oil on canvas, 50 x 36 in., frame: 59 x 45 in.
Nov 07, 11:00 AM EDT
ADELAIDE COLE CHASE, (American, 1868-1944), The Two Alices, oil on canvas, 50 x 36 in., frame: 59 x 45 in.
by Grogan & Company
Est: $5,000- $10,000
$3,2502 Bids
Thomas Sully (1783-1872) Portrait of a Young Girl Holding Pet Terrier
Nov 10, 11:00 AM EST
Thomas Sully (1783-1872) Portrait of a Young Girl Holding Pet Terrier
by Freeman's
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5002 Bids
Anonymous portrait painter of
Nov 08, 10:00 AM CET
Anonymous portrait painter of
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1902 Bids
CONTINENTAL SCHOOL
Oct 28, 9:00 AM PDT
CONTINENTAL SCHOOL
by Abell Auction
Est: $200- $300
$2252 Bids
MISCHA ASKENAZY (1888 - 1961): PORTRAIT OF A GIRL
Oct 28, 9:00 AM PDT
MISCHA ASKENAZY (1888 - 1961): PORTRAIT OF A GIRL
by Abell Auction
Est: $400- $600
$4002 Bids
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BEAUTY (CONTINENTAL SCHOOL, EARLY 20TH CENTURY)
Oct 29, 10:00 AM CDT
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BEAUTY (CONTINENTAL SCHOOL, EARLY 20TH CENTURY)
by Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $80- $200
$802 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Portrait Paintings


Broward Auction Gallery

Broward Auction Gallery

Auktionshaus Wendl

Auktionshaus Wendl

Dobiaschofsky Auktionen AG

Dobiaschofsky Auktionen AG

Historia Auktionshaus

Historia Auktionshaus