The Guild of Boston Artists
Boston's premier source for contemporary realism

Portrait Commissions

Chief Justice David Brock, NH Supreme Court, by Richard Whitney

Chief Justice David Brock, NH Supreme Court, by Richard Whitney

The Guild of Boston Artists has been offering portraits by commission since 1914. Our founders were among the premier portrait painters of their generation. Artists such as Edmund Tarbell, William Paxton, Lilian Westcott Hale, Joseph DeCamp, Frank Benson, and Marie Danforth Page set the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship. We are honored to continue their legacy of excellence.

Our portrait artists work in a variety of mediums: oil, pastel, watercolor, charcoal, and bronze. Regardless of the medium Guild artists offer quality portraits that are designed to last for generation after generation, and the patron receives a work that becomes an enduring legacy.

The Process

The process of selecting a portrait artist begins with the patron’s review of our artists’ portfolios, credentials, sitting requirements and prices to aid in deciding which artist will best suit particular needs. Style is also important. The client should determine if an impressionistic, painterly style or a more realistic, photographic style is preferred. Artists can customize work and the client should feel free to bring any unusual requests such as the need that a portrait to be suited to the color scheme of a particular room.

The Guild will make arrangements for meetings between the artist and patron, where they will discuss the patron’s particular needs and requirements, including fees. Fees depend largely upon the size of the piece. Portrait sizes are based upon whether the subject is head and shoulders, half-figure, three-quarter figure, or full figure. Some artists charge more when there is more than one figure; some charge by size alone. Portraits normally present the subject life size but under life size may be requested. Oils and bronze works are more costly than watercolors, pastels, or charcoal drawings.Please note that framing costs are additional, and the artist will happily assist the client in choosing the most suitable frame for the portrait.

Once a decision is made, the artists and the client will arrange a schedule for sittings. While most prefer to work from life, a few of our artists will work from a combination of life and photographs or (more rarely) only photographs. Most of our artists have found that working from life produces the best quality portrait.

The Artists