The near-infrared luminescence properties of three (E)-N-hexadecyl-N',N'-dimethylamino-stilbazolium tetrakis(1-phenyl-3-methyl-4-benzoyl-5-pyrazolonato) lanthanide(III) complexes are described. These three complexes, containing trivalent neodymium, erbium and ytterbium, respectively, show near-infrared luminescence in acetonitrile solution upon UV irradiation. Luminescence decay times have been measured. The complexes consist of a positively charged hemicyanine chromophore with a long alkyl chain and a tetrakis(pyrazolonato) lanthanide(III) anion. Because of the absence of an alpha-hydrogen atom in the pyrazolonato ligands, and because of the saturation of the coordination sphere by four bidentate ligands, the luminescence properties are enhanced when compared to, e.g. quinolinate complexes.