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Karl Friedrich Abel

Date: ca. 1777
88 3/4 x 59 1/2 in. (225.4 x 151.1 cm.)
frame: 105 × 75 × 7 1/2 in. (266.7 × 190.5 × 19.1 cm.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Object Number: 25.19
Label Text:Gainsborough portrays Karl Friedrich Abel in a moment of inspiration. He is seated at a writing table with his pen resting on the first bar of a new musical score. His viol da gamba rests against his thigh, as if he has just set it aside momentarily. Abel was a prolific composer, important performer, and one of Gainsborough’s closest friends. Gainsborough used a rich palette of emerald, crimson, and sapphire to express the wealth and status commensurate with his friend’s professional eminence, while Abel’s powdered wig and subdued suit attest to his understated good taste.