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Oil portraits are enjoying a revival. Although, photographs may be popular, a fine art portrait conveys a greater sense of gravitas for the subject and the institution or legacy for a family. The camera records a fleeting nanosecond while a portrait—painted over time—makes a statement of permanence. When planning to commission a portrait, the task of choosing the artist is the beginning of an exciting adventure.


The choice of artist will be dependent on the style of painting that is desired. Often a corporate portrait has to adhere to established conventions. Although a traditional portrait painter with proven skills may be desirable, some organizations embrace informality and a more relaxed pose. A family portrait can take more risks. Picture yourself in the portrait of the artists whom you prefer.


When deciding on the size of the portrait, consider the purpose and location. For paintings, any sizes from head-and-shoulders to full-length is suitable if there is space. Private and institutional portraits differ in their presence, as they should. Most corporate portraits are in the 40” x 30” range, albeit some institutional portrait collections have limited the size to conserve space.


Budget can be a limiting factor in the choice of artist. Experienced and prominent artists, with many references, charge more than those just getting started. As a rule, larger and more complicated work—with detailed backgrounds or additional figures—commands a higher price.


Time is the final factor in the decision. If the painting is needed for a specific date and the timeline is short, the price and/or selection will be affected. No matter what, choosing the artist is just the beginning of the journey.

A custome portrait should resemble the subject. This one does.

Dr. Elias Schwartz

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

ARTIST: Dean Larson

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