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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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Antique Renaissance Style Portrait of Man Painting
Apr 24, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique Renaissance Style Portrait of Man Painting
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $500- $1,500
$3,50033 Bids
Jean Jansem signed oil on canvas painting
Apr 18, 10:00 AM EDT
Jean Jansem signed oil on canvas painting
by Schultz Auctioneers
Est: $500- $1,000
$1,00018 Bids
JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO PHILIPPINE SANGUINE PAINTING
Apr 21, 10:00 AM EDT
JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO PHILIPPINE SANGUINE PAINTING
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$2,40017 Bids
ANTIQUE LOVER'S EYE PORTRAIT PAINTING
Apr 21, 11:00 AM EDT
ANTIQUE LOVER'S EYE PORTRAIT PAINTING
by Americana Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$1,60016 Bids
Carl Maria Seyppel (German,1847-1913) oil painting antique
Jun 02, 11:45 AM EDT
Carl Maria Seyppel (German,1847-1913) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $950- $1,250
$52514 Bids
EMMANUEL MANE-KATZ (UKRAINIAN 1894-1962)
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
EMMANUEL MANE-KATZ (UKRAINIAN 1894-1962)
by Shapiro Auctions LLC
Est: $7,500- $10,000
$1,30013 Bids
Albanian Ottoman School
Apr 23, 10:00 AM CEST
Albanian Ottoman School
by Deutsch Auktionen
Est: €200- €400
€1,20012 Bids
OIL ON CANVAS DEPICTING A LADY IN A BLUE DRESS WEARING THE ST. CATHERINE THE GREAT MARTYR ORDER
Apr 21, 9:30 AM CEST
OIL ON CANVAS DEPICTING A LADY IN A BLUE DRESS WEARING THE ST. CATHERINE THE GREAT MARTYR ORDER
by La Galerie Numismatique
Est: €3,000- €6,000
€55012 Bids
VAN NOORDT Jan (1623 - 1681) Huile sur panneau de …
Apr 16, 6:30 PM CEST
VAN NOORDT Jan (1623 - 1681) Huile sur panneau de …
by Vanderkindere
Est: €1,000- €1,500
€2,40012 Bids
VIETNAMESE PORTRAIT OIL PAINTING BY VU CAO DAM
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
VIETNAMESE PORTRAIT OIL PAINTING BY VU CAO DAM
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$3759 Bids
MID CENT MEXICAN OIL PAINTING AFTER DIEGO RIVERA
Apr 21, 10:00 AM EDT
MID CENT MEXICAN OIL PAINTING AFTER DIEGO RIVERA
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$2258 Bids
19th C John Smart Portrait Mrs Eliza Kent nee King
Apr 20, 11:00 AM EDT
19th C John Smart Portrait Mrs Eliza Kent nee King
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $100- $15,000
$1,4007 Bids
Judaica Oil On Canvas Painting
Apr 18, 12:00 PM EDT
Judaica Oil On Canvas Painting
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $50- $500
$2257 Bids
JOY EWART, 1916-64, Study of a schoolgirl, oil on board, 60x 55cm frame size 77 x 71cm
Apr 21, 7:00 PM AEST
JOY EWART, 1916-64, Study of a schoolgirl, oil on board, 60x 55cm frame size 77 x 71cm
by Lawsons
Est: AUD150- AUD250
AUD707 Bids
A 1959 Russian Impressionist Portrait Oil On Board
Apr 28, 11:00 AM MST
A 1959 Russian Impressionist Portrait Oil On Board
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $3,000- $6,000
$1006 Bids
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ENRIQUE D'AOUST "LA NINA DEL PATO" OIL ON CANVAS
May 05, 9:00 AM MST
ENRIQUE D'AOUST "LA NINA DEL PATO" OIL ON CANVAS
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$2606 Bids
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WILLIAM AHRENDT "THE WARRIOR" OIL ON BOARD
May 05, 9:00 AM MST
WILLIAM AHRENDT "THE WARRIOR" OIL ON BOARD
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$306 Bids
OLD MASTER PAINTING BUST OF A MAN
Apr 20, 10:00 AM CDT
OLD MASTER PAINTING BUST OF A MAN
by Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $200- $400
$2255 Bids
Arthur Sarnoff "Red Cloud" Acrylic on Wood Panel
May 14, 11:00 AM EDT
Arthur Sarnoff "Red Cloud" Acrylic on Wood Panel
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$2255 Bids
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BUCK MCCAIN "THE CHIEF" OIL ON CANVAS
May 05, 9:00 AM MST
BUCK MCCAIN "THE CHIEF" OIL ON CANVAS
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1605 Bids
Vintage Sgd Elderly Man Portrait Oil Painting
Apr 17, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage Sgd Elderly Man Portrait Oil Painting
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $90
$205 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Portrait Paintings


Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Neumeister

Neumeister

Dusseldorfer Auktionshaus

Dusseldorfer Auktionshaus

Kunstauktionshaus Schloss Ahlden

Kunstauktionshaus Schloss Ahlden