From Ben Carson to Ana Mendieta, See the Newest Faces Inducted Into the National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian museum has acquired 27 new portraits.

Jesse Frohman, Spike Lee, (1990). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the artist.
Jesse Frohman, Spike Lee (1990). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Gift of the artist.

Designer Ralph Lauren, neurosurgeon-turned-politician Ben Carson, artist Ana Mendieta, director Spike Lee, and Francis Scott Key, who penned the lyrics for the “Star-Spangled Banner,” are all subjects in the latest crop of portraits to enter the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The works will go on view November 17 as part of its annual “Recent Acquisitions” exhibition.

“We are always looking for subjects whose accomplishments are national and significant,” chief curator Brandon Fortune told artnet News. “So while our collection is comprised of portraits of nationally significant figures who have had an impact on our history and also the present day, we’re also looking for really fascinating works of art.”

One such portrait is Jerry Spagnoli’s daguerreotype diptych that captures the likeness of neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. The work separates Carson’s head and shoulders from the the second panel, which focuses on his hands. “We commissioned it to really honor his work in medicine,” said Fortune. “That’s how he came to the attention of the National Portrait Gallery before his entry into the political realm.”

Jerry Spagnoli, <i>Ben Carson</i>, (2014). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

One panel from Jerry Spagnoli’s diptych, Ben Carson (2014). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

Jerry Spagnoli, <i>Ben Carson</i>, (2014). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Second panel of Jerry Spagnoli’s Ben Carson (2014). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

The 27 new acquisitions will join the collection of more than 22,000 other portraits in all media. See more of the new acquisitions below.

Robert Mapplethorpe, <i>Bill T. Jones</i>, (1985). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Bill T. Jones (1985). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

ADÁL, <i>Rita Moreno</i>, (1984). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquisition made possible through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

ADÁL, Rita Moreno (1984). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Acquisition made possible through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool.

Mark Seliger, <i>Ralph Lauren</i>, (2002). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Ralph Lauren Corporation.

Mark Seliger, Ralph Lauren (2002). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Gift of the Ralph Lauren Corporation.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, <i>Madeleine Albright</i>, (2005). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of Eugene Eidenberg.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Madeleine Albright (2005). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Acquired through the generosity of Eugene Eidenberg.

Gaspar Enriquez, <i>El Corazon de Luis</i>, (2016). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; donated from the collection of Jerry and Michelle Wright.

Gaspar Enriquez, El Corazon de Luis (2016). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Donated from the collection of Jerry and Michelle Wright.

Adolph Friedlander, <i>The World Renown [sic] Long Tack Sam</i>, (1919). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution;acquisition made possible through federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool.

Adolph Friedlander, The World Renown [sic] Long Tack Sam (1919). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Acquisition made possible through federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool.

Ana Mendieta, <i> Mirage</i>, (1974). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquisition made possible through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool.

Ana Mendieta, Mirage (1974). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Acquisition made possible through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool.

Alex Katz, <i>Black Dress (Christy)</i>, (2015). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Abraham and Virginia Weiss Charitable Trust, Amy and Marc Meadows, in honor of Wendy Wick Reaves.

Alex Katz, Black Dress (Christy) (2015). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. Gift of the Abraham and Virginia Weiss Charitable Trust, Amy and Marc Meadows, in honor of Wendy Wick Reaves.

Rembrandt Peale, <i>Francis Scott Key</i>, (1796). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Rembrandt Peale, Francis Scott Key (1796). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

“Recent Acquisitions” while be on view at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery from November 17, 2017, through November 4, 2018.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share