See the 100 Years of Presidential Portraits Leading Up to Kehinde Wiley’s Much-Debated Barack Obama
Show of the Day: "America's Presidents" (plus Barack Obama's presidential portrait) at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC.
Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
What the Museum Says: “‘America’s Presidents’ lies at the very heart of the museum’s mission to tell the American story through individuals who have shaped the country. It showcases multiple images of the past 44 U.S. presidents, starting with Washington and continuing to Barack Obama.”
Why It’s Worth a Look: The NPG’s treasures are many, and the highlights of its keystone exhibition, “America’s Presidents,” include Gilbert Stuart’s prized “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington. Given the recent excitement around the unveiling of Barack Obama’s official portrait and the fact that today is President’s Day, we’ve specifically assembled the last century’s worth of Commander-in-Chief imagery from the NPG, beginning with Woodrow Wilson (whose term spanned 1913-21). The result gives a look at the evolution of the form, from the rather drab daubings of Harding and Hoover, to Norman Rockwell’s beaming Nixon, to the artier renditions of Kennedy and Clinton, to the vibrant, almost-surrealist vision of painter Kehinde Wiley’s just-debuted Obama.
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