Friday, May 20, 2022

Rare portrait of Princess Diana sold for $201,600 – 10 times more than expected price

Sotheby’s announced Friday that a rare portrait of Princess Diana has sold for $201,600 — more than 10 times the expected price.

Oil painting, which is a major study, was done by the late American artist Nelson Shanks in 1994, three years before his death.

According to the auction house, “Diana, Princess of Wales” was expected to fetch up to $20,000.

Diana is shown in a green halter dress by designer Katherine Walker. She has earrings on and her eyes are looking down. The principal study was created during the beginning of a large full-length portrait, with artists sometimes using such principal studies to gather details and perspectives on the subject’s face.

The auction house said Diana sat for more than 35 hours for a commissioned full-length portrait, which originally hung at Kensington Palace and now resides in her ancestral home in Althorp, Northamptonshire.

Shanks painted a second full-length version of the portrait of Diana from memory in 2010.

According to Sotheby’s, the painting “Diana, Princess of Wales” was expected to fetch up to $20,000, but it sold for $201,600.

A full-size portrait of Princess Diana by American artist Nelson Shanxo

A full-size portrait of Princess Diana by American artist Nelson Shanxo

Pictured: Artist Nelson Shanks painted Princess Diana in 1994, three years before her tragic death

Pictured: Artist Nelson Shanks painted Princess Diana in 1994, three years before her tragic death

Diana developed a friendship with Shanks and his wife Leona during more than 30 meetings with the artist, and in a letter, later expressed regret that she no longer saw him regularly in London.

According to Sotheby’s, she wrote, ‘I miss you and Leona in London, because coming into the studio was a safe haven, so full of support and love.

The portrait shows Princess Diana’s face showing a ‘thoughtful expression’ and ‘lowered eyes’, which were equally included in her full-length portrait.

According to Sotheby’s, the dress was later changed to a white blouse for the final, larger project.

The auction house described the final picture as reflecting ‘the emotional toll of Diana’s public life in the mid-1990s, but also her inner-resilience’.

Pictured: The Princess of Wales visiting the Washington Gala charity dinner in 1996

Pictured: The Princess of Wales visiting the Washington Gala charity dinner in 1996

Diana, Princess of Wales visits the Washington Gala Dinner hosted by the American Red Cross to raise funds for landmine victims around the world in 1997

Diana, Princess of Wales, visits the Royal Brompton Hospital to visit young cystic fibrosis sufferers in 1997

Diana, Princess of Wales, visits a Washington gala dinner, left, and visits the Royal Brompton Hospital to meet cystic fibrosis sufferers, right, both in 1997

Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles had already broken up by 1994. The next year, he revealed the breaking point of his once-dream marriage during an interview with the BBC.

“There were three of us at this wedding, so there was a bit of a rush,” she said, referring to Charles’ relationship at the time, with the current Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles.

Diana said she was with ‘a husband who was in love with someone else.’

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Her divorce from Charles was finalized in 1996 after four years of separation and endless tabloid coverage.

However, the paparazzi’s nonstop search for the beloved princess led to her death the following year when the car she was traveling in crashed into the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.

Shanks famously painted Bill Clinton's official presidential portraits for the National Portrait Gallery

Shanks famously painted Bill Clinton’s official presidential portraits for the National Portrait Gallery

Shanks also painted the official presidential portrait of Ronald Reagan, pictured.

Shanks also painted the official presidential portrait of Ronald Reagan, pictured.

Shanks was a painter, educator, and art historian who was influential in the revival of classical realism in the United States.

His portraits of royalty, politicians and celebrities added to his international profile as one of the leading contemporary figurative painters.

He painted official presidential portraits of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton for the National Portrait Gallery before dying of cancer in 2015 at the age of 77.

In Clinton’s portrait, he also added a salty Easter egg by including a very subtle reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which led to Clinton’s impeachment.

He told NPR, ‘If you look to the left of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things.

‘It actually represents a shadow from a blue dress I had on a mannequin, which I had when I was painting it, but not when it was there. It is also a metaphor in that it represents the office held by him or a shadow over him.’

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