Varnelis took a keen interest in history and collecting. At the time when the portrait was painted he was the head of the Ecclesiastical Art Museum in Kaunas. In 1943, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna where in 1945 he acquired the diploma of an academic painter. In 1949, he moved to the USA and settled in Chicago.
Reference: Description of the "Meetings" exhibition. - M. K.Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas.