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Superb Antique 19th Century Oil Painting on Canvas, Expressive Gentleman with Beard 18" x 15"
I've amassed a wonderful collection of fine antique art, mostly portraiture, and will begin to list many of those paintings in weeks ahead. Here we have one of my personal favorites, a remarkable realistic portrait that manages to also have an impressionist feel to it, dating to mid-1800s, and artist signed (though I can't make it out, sorry). The slightly downcast eyes of this pensive face give us a whole story of a life perhaps lived on the fringes, lessons learned and love and legacy lost to fate. There is regret, resignation and great pathos captured in his mid-ground blind gaze. One can fairly read his thoughts, so beautifully has the artist captured the essense of an emotion. Very adept at portraiture, this artist has caught the hollows of the cheeks, the lines of the brow and the greying hair in a measured economy of strokes. The breadth of a brush moving in impressionist manner through the bushes of hair and beard, hinting at age and more. Backed in a dark deep wine-burgandy of deepest contrast, in person it almost seems black. There is not just the educated adept knowledge of musculature and anatomy and portraiture at work in this one, but also a highly sophisticated maturity to the artist's decisions of what to finish in detail and what to render in broad stroke - all to the benefit of the painting's resulting appeal. A fabulous portrait to hang as it is, without frame, or to match up with a frame. All the decorator magazines and sites are showing unframed portraits upright against a wall but resting on a dresser top or shelf. It's a wonderful look, something this one would be perfect for. One almost hates to contain the emotion of it within the boundaries of a frame.
Very good to excellent condition, with a nod to one small restoration of a slit in the canvas, about .5" long and at about the 9 o'clock position into the reddish black background. Some dust showing on our photos, sorry. The painting is in fine form, the canvas is stretched on board framework, as you can see in our images. Oddly, the camera captured a strange flaw in the canvas that seems to traverse the man's face, but in person and in normal light you don't even see it. Also the background seems darker in person, whereas our camera has brought out more of the subtle wine red. I love it when a portrait gives you fine detail in the face and then retreats away from it to an almost abstract body of colors or strokes of brush, and that method is done beautifully here. No frame. The painting is 18" x 15" and displays well as you see it, without a frame, or it can be framed. Penetrating and emotional. You will come to love this painting!
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San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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