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Portraits in the Collection of Henry Koehler

Throughout his long career, Henry Koehler was commissioned to paint portraits of friends and the social elite, both in America and in England where he exhibited his work and enjoyed the hospitality of royals and the landed gentry. Portraiture as a genre dates back to ancient Egypt and flourished until the invention of photography in the nineteenth century. Prior to photography, a painted, sculpted or drawn portrait was the only way to records someone’s appearance and social standing. Portraits were used to show the power, wealth and intellectual qualities of the sitter.  Commissioned portraiture became rare in the 20th century as photography became a more affordable way of capturing one’s image, but the elite classes in Europe and America continue the tradition of commissioned portraits to this day. Many artists, like Henry Koehler, painted portraits of friends and family as a way of marking their relationship and were often offered as gifts. Koehler painted  many such portraits, including of friends such as Amanda Mortimer, Lee Radziwill, Pamela Zauderer, Alexandra Chase, and Mrs. J.M. Santo Domingo. He also painted portraits for the royal family, including HRH the Priince of Wales, the Dutchess of Windsor, and several portraits of the Duke of Windsor’s beloved pug, Minoru. Koehler, too, had pugs that were central to his life, and they were all memorialized by him in various dog portraits. In addition to his own portrait work, the Collection of Henry Koehler offers portraits by other artists collected by Koehler over the years. Highlights include a portrait of William Thaw III by Bernard Boutet de Monvel, Brigitte Grassin Chambert de Lawe’s Henry in the Garden, Samuel Lane’s  Portrait Sketch of William Pitt, and an English School portrait of a young boy.

Time & Location

An Artist’s Life: The Collection of Henry Koehler
Wednesday, September 22 at 11am

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