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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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FRIDA KAHLO, OIL ON CANVAS
Dec 11, 10:15 PM CET
FRIDA KAHLO, OIL ON CANVAS
by Novartia
Est: €4,000- €5,000
€45027 Bids
German Portrait
Dec 10, 9:00 AM EST
German Portrait
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$458 Bids
Magnificent Antique Hand painted Porcelain and Ornate Frame
Dec 04, 10:00 AM CST
Magnificent Antique Hand painted Porcelain and Ornate Frame
by Thriftiques of Iowa
Est: $10- $1,000
$805 Bids
LARGE EARLY PORTRAIT PAINTING OF ALEXANDER II
Dec 10, 12:00 PM EST
LARGE EARLY PORTRAIT PAINTING OF ALEXANDER II
by Burchard Galleries Inc
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,3004 Bids
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SIGNED "NEW MEXICO SPANISH MISS OIL ON CANVAS
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
SIGNED "NEW MEXICO SPANISH MISS OIL ON CANVAS
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$303 Bids
, 19th Century, Portrait of Jean, wife of John Bower, oil on canvas
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CST
, 19th Century, Portrait of Jean, wife of John Bower, oil on canvas
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $300- $500
$2003 Bids
Deutscher Porträtmaler des Biedermeier
Dec 04, 10:00 AM CET
Deutscher Porträtmaler des Biedermeier
by Kunstauktionshaus Schloss Ahlden
Est: €650- €1,300
€1,4003 Bids
SOCIETY PORTRAIT CIRCA 1940
Dec 13, 9:00 AM CST
SOCIETY PORTRAIT CIRCA 1940
by Jackson's International
Est: $150- $250
$1403 Bids
17th Century Oil Portrait of an Armored Gentleman
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CST
17th Century Oil Portrait of an Armored Gentleman
by Circle Auction
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5503 Bids
3 Small Frames with Portraits
Dec 04, 5:00 PM CST
3 Small Frames with Portraits
by Asselmeier May Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$153 Bids
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RUSS DOCKEN "PORTRAIT" OIL ON BOARD
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
RUSS DOCKEN "PORTRAIT" OIL ON BOARD
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$153 Bids
Gustav Klimt , OIL ON CANVAS
Dec 11, 10:15 PM CET
Gustav Klimt , OIL ON CANVAS
by Novartia
Est: €2,000- €4,000
€702 Bids
Fried Pal. "Renee," oil
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
Fried Pal. "Renee," oil
by Alex Cooper
Est: $800- $1,200
$4252 Bids
Edna Hibel. Portrait of a young woman with headscarf. Signed lower right. Oil on plywood panel.
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
Edna Hibel. Portrait of a young woman with headscarf. Signed lower right. Oil on plywood panel.
by Tremont Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1502 Bids
PORTRAIT PAINTING OF EMPRESS ALEXANDROVNA AFTER WINTERHALTER
Dec 10, 12:00 PM EST
PORTRAIT PAINTING OF EMPRESS ALEXANDROVNA AFTER WINTERHALTER
by Burchard Galleries Inc
Est: $500- $800
$3002 Bids
Titti Garelli (Italian, b. 1948)
Dec 08, 11:00 AM CST
Titti Garelli (Italian, b. 1948)
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $600- $900
$3252 Bids
English School: Portrait of a Young Man
Dec 07, 11:00 AM EST
English School: Portrait of a Young Man
by Stair
Est: $800- $1,200
$4502 Bids
Follower of Rembrandt (17th - 18th C.)
Dec 04, 1:00 PM EST
Follower of Rembrandt (17th - 18th C.)
by Helmuth Stone
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$8502 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Portrait Paintings


Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Hampel Fine Art Auctions

Hampel Fine Art Auctions

Im Kinsky

Im Kinsky

Kunstauktionshaus Schloss Ahlden

Kunstauktionshaus Schloss Ahlden