Ultimate luxury: Sitting for your own Van Dyck

In early February I was asked by a client to find a portrait artist because he was giving his wife the gift of a sitting. His stipulations were that the artist A) not be a freak, B) was partial to men so as to not be tempted by the client’s wife and C) not be a well known artist but an up-and-comer. Don’t you love it!!!

Portraits have always been one of my favorite subjects, especially those in which the artist has the ability of revealing the underlying personality of the sitter.  And I also think that if you ask museum goers to name the most memorable work in a museum, they will likely name a portrait.  At the Louvre in Paris there’s Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, at the MET in New York it’s Sargent’s Madame X, at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and at the Prado in Madrid, there’s Velazquez’s Las Meninas.  So even though contemporary portraiture is not as popular as abstract or video art, it’s certainly still alive in people’s minds.
The request to find an artist was admittedly the first one in my career, so I started by asking artist friends and looking on-line only to uncover more and more questions for the client; questions that needed to be resolved in order to pinpoint the correct artist.  Needless to say the process became overwhelming!
But, I got lucky.  I found Jasmine Sewell of Sewell Fine Portraiture in NYC.  With her expertise, she asked questions like “What style do you prefer, realistic, impressionistic, expressionistic?” and “Where will the portrait hang?” questions which allowed her to narrow down the list of potential choices.  She knows her stuff!
Today, Jasmine is having one of the artists she recommended complete my client’s commission! So thank you, thank you, thank you for facilitating the process !
image credits: (top) Margaret Thatcher by Nelson Shanks; (center) Ciaran Hinds by Colin Davidson; (bottom) Bill and Melinda Gates by JonR. Friedman
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