Oil on fabric
Unframed: 67.5 x 55.5 cm (26 9/16 x 21 7/8 in.)
Bequest of Noah L. Butkin 1980.268
This portrait portrays the artist's father, himself a painter and printmaker who gave his son his earliest artistic training. Fittingly, Lehmann depicted his father at work, surrounded by the tools of his trade. Resting his arms upon a sheet of paper supported by a book and a portfolio, Leo Lehmann holds a portecrayon, a pen-like holder for the 19th-century equivalent of modern wax crayons. His intense gaze and his poised drawing implement suggest that he may be recording the likeness of his son, who at the same time paints his father's portrait.
Lehmann was a successful portrait painter, especially among the English aristocracy, during the latter half of the 19th century. His popularity resulted not only from his remarkable ability to reproduce the appearance of surfaces-like his father's velvet coat-but also his capacity to capture the psychological presence of his sitters.
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