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        Portrait Drawings For Sale

        Browse portrait drawings for sale on our online gallery and explore our extensive selection of styles, ranging from expressionistic portrait drawings to cartoons to illustrative portraits. Shop today and find the perfect contemporary portrait drawing for your home or office.

        About the artists

        Fatola Israel's emotive portrait drawings demonstrate how the medium’s softness lends itself well to the study of social issues. In his hyper-real style, the award-winning pencil artist who studied in Nigeria, explores humankind’s struggle within society. Captivity captures an intimate close up of a man behind bars, while “Mojisola” documents an entirely different emotion: hope.

        The work of acclaimed artist Nelson Makamo, winner of the 2018 Rise Art Prize, highlights individuality and celebrates society in his native South Africa. The large-scale charcoal drawing, In My Skin sees a young boy standing as if exposed, charged with a self-consciousness recognisable amongst pre-teens. Beauty captures his subject less directly, zooming in to the sitter from the side, his features composed from spontaneous marks and scrawled words.

        Lee Ellis uses his portrait drawings to create a darker sense of intimacy, using his figures’ warped features to hint at an inner landscapes of psychological torture. The scratched surface of Cheese Before Bed 11 creates a sense of emotional angst. Ellis’ distinctive figures are repeated throughout the rest of his nightmarish Cheese Before Bed series.

        An Intimate Art Form

        The history of portrait drawing is intertwined with that of portraiture. However, unlike portrait paintings which have evolved according to the style of the day, portrait drawings have remained a timeless way to intimately explore an individual.

        There has long been a fascination with portrait drawings of well-known figures, reflecting a desire to strip them back to their core. Augustus John sketched T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) in both London and Paris. At the time Lawrence sat for John, between 1919 and 1923, the archaeologist and military officer was a household name and John’s drawings of him sold for good money. Commenting on this fact, Lawrence wrote to John: “What do artists' models of the best sort fetch per hour (or perhaps per job)... it seems to me that I have a future...”

        Unlike John’s paintings of Lawrence which can be considered fairly formal, the quick portrait drawings show a different side to the sitter. A two-minute sketch drawn at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, shows a more vulnerable Lawrence than the public were perhaps used to - a figure engulfed by his robes, hunched and small.

        The intimacy of portrait drawings can reveal a side to a person’s personality that is often edited out from official portraits. In Paul Emsley’s final painting of the Duchess of Cambridge, she appears demure and regal. But in Emsley’s portrait drawings, her gaze is fierce and challenging. Studies of modern politicians, such as Diane Abbott by Stuart Pearson Wright and Ken Livingstone by Andrew Tift, show a softer side to these public figures.

        Since 1990, there has been a revival of interest in portrait drawings among contemporary artists, who are drawn to the art form for its intimacy. Matthew Carr’s 2008 portrait drawing of novelist Sebastian Faulks, for example, hints at a sort of existential crisis in the sitter, as we see a floating head in pencil, marooned on the empty page.

        Preparatory or Stand-Alone Portraits

        Self-portrait drawings offer artists an impulsive method of self-examination. Stanley Spencer’s 1913 self-portrait drawing is sketched onto paper that had previously been used, hinting either at spontaneity or an attempt to weave studio materials into his self-portrait. The piece is thought to be in preparation for his self-portrait painting completed the following year and the drawing shares the same intense stare he later depicted in oil.

        However not all portrait drawings exist only as studies in preparation for grander works in painting or sculpture. Frank Auerbach churned over his drawings of Estella (Stella) West, who posed for him between 1950 and the 1970s. Head of E.O.W. took almost 70 sittings and as a result of the artist’s constant drawing and erasing, the paper is torn and patched.

        Find out more in our Guide To Drawings.

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          showing 271 pieces

          Figure No. 7, Venus Gaze

          Drawings - 119x89 cmRent for $ 245/mo

          Woman II

          Drawings - 46x61 cmRent for $ 90/mo

          Allegro d1.1

          Drawings - 76x61 cmRent for $ 130/mo

          Fully Present

          Drawings - 100x70 cm

          Untitled, 003

          Drawings - 160x120 cm

          Allegro no.200

          Drawings - 76x61 cmRent for $ 130/mo

          manfisher

          Drawings - 50x45 cmRent for $ 90/mo

          viridian ghost

          Drawings - 76x56 cmRent for $ 170/mo

          Pencil 8

          Drawings - 20x20 cm

          Pencil 3

          Drawings - 20x20 cm

          Character (layer) 2

          Drawings - 20x20 cmRent for $ 70/mo

          Untitled

          Drawings - 214x83 cm

          social media self-portrait

          Drawings - 100x70 cmRent for $ 185/mo

          Untitled #18 (from the series Solar Caress)

          Drawings - 14x9 cmRent for $ 75/mo

          Untitled

          Drawings - 100x70 cm

          Self Portrait Upside Down

          Drawings - 250x210 cmRent for $ 215/mo

          Manet's Olympia

          Drawings - 42x59 cmRent for $ 190/mo

          Untitled

          Drawings - 100x70 cm

          Pencil 5

          Drawings - 20x20 cm

          Rhianna in Havana

          Drawings - 32x39 cmRent for $ 140/mo

          Best of Women

          Drawings - 100x70 cm

          Untitled

          Drawings - 100x70 cm

          Woman/Boat 1

          Drawings - 25x25 cmRent for $ 80/mo

          Team (fragment) 5

          Drawings - 18x18 cmRent for $ 61/mo

          Ruby Woo

          Drawings - 200x150 cm

          Parade (layer) 2

          Drawings - 20x20 cmRent for $ 70/mo

          Untitled #7 (from the series Solar Caress)

          Drawings - 13x8 cmRent for $ 62/mo

          Gasoline

          Drawings - 209x151 cmRent for $ 195/mo