In case you are just tuning in and wondering, "What's up with all the portraits?", it is a topic that has snowballed a bit here. Painted portraits, whether vintage pictures of unknown subjects or very personal commissioned works, seem to be back in vogue. And of course in some families they are a tradition that never fell out of favor. So, I began asking design editors, friends, artists and decorators to share their own experiences. Many had their portrait painted or sketched as a child, some only like to see portraits displayed in private spaces, some prefer abstracts, and others gravitate to traditional styles. It's interesting.
Many thanks to all the parents of the tastemakers who are generously allowing me to share their cherished pictures and stories.
The photos shown above are by Stewart Shining and cropped from domino's April 2008 feature about Drew Barrymore's Ruthie Sommers-designed offices.
Related quick links:
National Portrait Gallery
Marian Anderson Portrait
One of my favorite contemporary artists, Annie Butrus, sometimes gives her in-laws drawings that she does of her children. She says, "My mother instilled in me a sense of priceless value when a gift was handmade." If you are a parent or grandparent thinking about commissioning a classic oil portrait, Annie recommends Birmingham artist Carter Laney. A sample of his work is shown below.
Dean Larson is another highly respected mid-career artist known for his realistic still lifes and portraits. He painted Schuyler Samperton's dog, as shown in image four above.
Mrs. Blandings recently did a great post on portraitist Brian Justice who specializes in very small (and affordable) works.
Remember when Sister Parish went groovy in the early 1970s? Even as she embraced the high-gloss aubergine vinyl walls, polished aluminum Levelor blinds, and abstract batik prints and geometrics (temporarily abandoning her floral chintz) she kept her classic portrait hanging. I think it looks smashing against the rich walls. Images above and below are from Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design.
Check out this fun related post from Caitlin and Tyler.