Isidore Konti was born in Hungary and studied in Austria, where he became a skilled practitioner of the classicizing style popular in the late 19th century. Some of his earliest works in the United States were temporary monumental sculptures for the 1901 World’s Fair in Buffalo, New York.
This portrait, which depicts Konti at the height of his career, hung in the annual exhibition at the National Academy of Design in 1911. In 1912, major articles appeared about Konti in The Fine Arts Journal and International Studio. Edward Hale Brush mentioned the portrait in a Fine Arts Journal article, noting that “the painter has expressed most sympathetically the qualities of refinement one finds in both the man and the artist.”
Konti’s mounting fame in 1912 was due to several reasons. He had been elected to the National Academy of Design in 1909. Copies of his Genius of Immortality had recently been acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Italian government. Also, his bronze group The Despotic Age was on view at the Metropolitan Museum and being considered for purchase; and his Kit Carsen plaque had just been presented to the Smithsonian Institution.