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Gerald L. Brockhurst (British, 1890-1978)


Also known as:  Brockhurst, Gerald; Brockhurst, Gerald Leslie; Brockhurst, Gerald R.; Gerald Leslie Brockhurst

Birth Place: Birmingham (West Midlands, England, United Kingdom)


Gerald L. Brockhurst was an English oil painter and portrait etcher whose work enthralled high society in New York and London for almost fifty years. Though his professional career started relatively late (he wouldn’t begin etching until the 1920s and wouldn’t be widely known until the 1930s), he would nonetheless become a fixture of the 20th-century artistic community. His legacy cemented in 1951 when he was elected to the National Academy of Design as an associate member.

The son of a coal merchant, Brockhurst entered the famed Birmingham School of art at the tender age of twelve. He won traveling scholarships that allowed him to travel both France and Italy at an early age -- leading him to study the works of Botticelli and Leonardo Da Vinci, both of which had a huge impact on Brockhurst’s aesthetics. While his first exhibition was in 1919 in London, it wouldn’t be until the 1930s, when his career as a portrait artist began to bloom, that he experienced lasting artistic success. Brockhurst continued to produce work up until his death in 1978.

What type of art does Gerald L. Brockhurst make?

Gerald L. Brockhurst was an English painter and portraitist whose paintings and etchings of women became extremely popular with members of high society on both sides of the Atlantic. His oil paintings often play with shadows, creating rich, atmospheric pieces that arrest and allure at the same time. Though his first and second wives usually served as his models, his most famous portrait is of the actress Merle Oberon in 1937.

How often do Gerald L. Brockhurst's paintings come up for auction?

Gerald Brockhurst’s don’t come up for auction regularly. Because of his medium (as a portraitist) many of his most famous works stayed in the families and collections for which they were commissioned. On top of that, his relatively late start to his artistic career (he wouldn’t begin etching seriously until 1920) made his artistic catalog smaller than some of his contemporaries. 

How much is a Gerald L. Brockhurst painting or sculpture worth?

A Gerald L. Brockhurst oil painting can be worth anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. While some of his early work, before his portraits, have sold between $15,000 - $40,000 in the early 2000s many of his pieces have sold for significantly more than that recently -- fetching sometimes up to eight or nine times the amount estimated before auction.

Which Gerald L. Brockhurst painting is the most valuable? 

The highest price ever paid for a Gerald L Brockhurst painting is $360,500 for the piece Merle Oberon (1937), sold by Heritage Auctions in 2018. A portrait of the famed film actress, it’s a perfect example of Brockhurst’s use of shadow and darkness to create depth and texture. Standing on what appears to be a mountain range, the sparing use of light and color give the paining a mesmerizing quality that makes it instantly recognizable as a Brockhurst. 

What are the most famous paintings by Gerald L. Brockhurst? 

Including the aforementioned Merle Oberon (1937), most of Brockhurst’s most famous works are his portraits of high society members. Portrait of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll (1931), Faun (unknown date), and Portrait of Hermione (unknown date) all are prime examples of the Brockhurst aesthetic. All feature young women staring directly at the artist, with dark features and shadow play that give special pathos to these portraits -- uncommon with other artists of this time. 

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