Celebrity Portraitist Peter Engels’ Live Pai...

Celebrity Portraitist Peter Engels’ Live Painting of Richard Branson to be Auctioned Off for Charity

Peter Engels poses with his latest, a portrait of billionaire businessman Richard Branson. Photo credit: Tom Berzels ©

The clock was ticking when portraitist Peter Engels sat down to paint billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson. While most of Engels’ signature celebrity portraits—subjects of which have included Nelson Mandela, Grace Kelly, Steve Jobs and many more—take three to four weeks to finish, the Virgin Group founder’s mug had to be committed to canvas in only two-and-a-half hours, the span of an interview of Branson conducted by Belgian journalist Marlène de Wouters.

For Engels, the interview “seemed the perfect opportunity to have Richard Branson pose for me.” de Wouters, he continues, “easily kept Richard Branson smiling for a couple of hours, which was just enough [time] for me to finish the painting.”

The painting in question, a close-up of Branson with the Antwerp skyline in the background, was done on a large canvas in Engels’ distinct visual style of sepia tones and pallet knife-applied paint. This Wednesday, June 20th, the piece will be auctioned off at Antwerp’s Bernaerts Auctioneers, with all proceeds going to the not-for-profit organization Virgin Unite. Considering the philanthropic aim of the auction and the fact that the painting is signed by Branson himself, insiders have estimated that the piece will fetch a higher price than that of Engels’ recent portrait of ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates, which sold for €45,000.

More information on Peter Engels and his artwork can be found at; for more on the auction, which commences at 8pm (Antwerp time) this Wednesday, June 20th, visit Bids are also being accepted online.


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