|Shanks at easel, Lenfest looking patrician in coral chair, Thatcher overseeing from corner|
I stopped by Freeman's auction house today to watch renowned painter Nelson Shanks, who has painted the portraits of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Ronald Reagan, and Princess Diana, at work. Taking a break from giving money away, philanthropist Gerry Lenfest was scheduled to sit for three hours while Shanks painted his portrait. The portrait painting was a program of Studio Incamminati, a Chinatown art school devoted to realism that was founded by Shanks.
You could have heard a pin drop while the master was at work. I am guessing that the audience was afraid to make too much noise for fear that Shanks, known for his irascibility, would throw them out. Or it could have been because they were awed to be in the presence of two Philadelphia greats, Shanks and Lenfest.
For sitting patiently, Shanks was giving the portrait to Lenfest for free. I am not sure where Lenfest is going to put it since he still in the same house that he originally bought 45 years ago for his growing family.
BTW, it is no accident that I chose this particular picture. It was quite fitting to juxtapose Lenfest with Margaret Thatcher. The Iron Lady would have approved of him.
I got a chance to take a picture of Shanks when he was taking a smoke break. A portrait of the portrait painter- totally Meta.