The mystery and joy of collecting portraits

Why would you collect and hang a portrait of someone in your home that you do not know?

Consider this—most of the most valuable, appreciated, and well-known works of art in the world are portraits of people that know one personally knows: Mona Lisa, Whistler’s Mother, Girl with the Pearl Earring, American Gothic, etc. That doesn’t mean we don’t know them though.

There is a wonderful art appreciating and collecting family in Birmingham whose dining room walls are filled with portraits of people they don’t personally know (including Miriam’s “Girl with a Guitar” pictured above).

And yet, they do know them. Their children enjoy creating stories about what these people in the portraits did and how they relate to one another. What a fun way to interact with and enjoy portraits!

Studying portraits is also a great way to develop understanding and empathy toward people, history, and culture not your own.

We’ll be continuing to share for the next month many of Miriam’s portraits. We hope you will consider adding one to your art collection.