Paul Edmund Graf, Portrait Of An Older Gentleman

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A late 19th-century oil on panel depicting a bearded gentleman by notable Swedish artist, Paul Edmund Graf (1866-1903).

Graf began his studies at the Royal Academy in Stockholm but soon found himself immersed into the eclectic buzz of the Parisian art scene. In 1885, he moved to France and worked under Léon Bonnat (1833-1922) at the École des Beaux Arts. Bonnat was a superb portraitist in the classical style and his works have been compared by critics to several of the old masters, including Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) and Titian (c.1488/90-1576).

Bonnat was around 52 when he met Paul Edmund Graf and it’s interesting to consider how he approached his tuition at a time when the Impressionists were in full swing. Despite his classical leanings, Bonnat also supported the work of independent artists such as Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet, so perhaps Graf had the dual benefit of a classical tutor plus access to some of Paris’ most exciting names.

Graf's own career was cut short at the age of 37 but in that brief time he achieved so much, including study trips to Germany, France, North Africa and America.

Today, he is represented at several museums including the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, where there’s also a wonderful drawing of him by his contemporary, Albert Engström (1869-1940).

A museum label on the reverse of this painting indicates that it appeared at the Nationalmuseum on the 28th of September 1971.

Signed in the lower right.

Oil on panel
Size including frame
23¼” x 20½” / 59cm x 52cm
Year of creation
c. 1890
Some light scuffing around the periphery but otherwise fine. Frame with age-related wear.
Artist’s auction highlight
£35,240 achieved at Sotheby's, USA, in 1993 for The Boating Pond.