DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center for Amer Art & Portraiture -- America's Presidents -- Notes:
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Description of Pictures: The temporary Obama portraits from Chuck Close.
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Copyrights: All pictures were taken by Bruce Guthrie who retains copyright on them. Free for non-commercial use with attribution. See the Creative Commons definition of what this means. "Photos (c) Bruce Guthrie" is fine for attribution. If asked for permission in advance, I'll usually waive the non-commercial clause unless it's for people trying to sell the photos. A free copy of any printed publication using the photographs is requested. Descriptive text, if any, is from a mixture of sources, quite frequently from official signs at the location or from official web sites; copyrights, if any, are retained by their original owners.
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Description of Subject Matter: The nation’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House, this exhibition lies at the heart of the Portrait Gallery’s mission to tell the American story through the individuals who have shaped it. Visitors will see an enhanced and extended display of multiple images of 42 presidents of the United States, including Gilbert Stuart’s “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington, the famous “cracked plate” photograph of Abraham Lincoln and whimsical sculptures of Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush by noted caricaturist Pat Oliphant. Presidents Washington, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt will be given expanded attention because of their significant impact on the office. Presidents from FDR to Bill Clinton are featured in a video component of the exhibit.
Various Signs: The National Portrait Gallery is proud to hold one of two official national collections of presidential portraits. The other belongs to the White House. Some of the portraits are more sophisticated than others; some are calculated to impress us with their gravity; some are warmly intimate. Together they have one thing in common; they all evoke the history of the nation's highest office and the individuals who have held it in trust for the American people.
The first citizens of our republic came to know their presidents through paintings, sculpture, or prints. Later, representation was enhanced through photographs and then through the technological revolutions of film, radio, television, and other new media. In all of these forms, the president's portrayal has reflected an ongoing dialogue about the office itself, and posing for the presidential portrait has become part of the process by which chief executives have affirmed their understanding of the role.
Collecting the Portraits of American Presidents:
Assembling an outstanding collection of portraits of the American presidents seemed like a daunting task when the National Portrait Gallery opened in 1968. By that year, fully thirty-five presidents had been in office, and many of their life portraits were already in public institutions.
The Gallery has since made a concerted effort to acquire a portrait of each sitting president. In 1968, Peter Hurd donated his portrait of Lyndon Johnson; in 1971 the Gallery purchased Norman Rockwell's portrait of Richard Nixon, made just prior to his 1969 inauguration; Ray Kinstler based his 1987 portrait of Gerald Ford on sketches made in 1977 for the official White House portrait; Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan chose paintings made during their presidency to represent them. Most recently, the Gallery has commissioned the artists selected by George HW Bush and Bill Clinton to paint their portraits for the collection.
Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
SIPGPR_130129_01.JPG: Barack Obama, born 1961
In February 2007, when Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln had given his "House Divided" speech, few pundits gave him a chance to become America's forty-fourth president. However, the financial crisis just months before the election and the tremendous enthusiasm he generated as a candidate propelled him to a historic victory in 2008 as the first African American to hold that office. The Affordable Care Act and the killing of Osama bin Laden by a Navy Seal team are considered the high points of President Obama's first term. Before become president, Obama had been a community organizer in Chicago and served in the Illinois State Senate (1997-2004) and the US Senate (2004-8). Elected to a second term in 2012, he confronts daunting challenges: a sluggish economy, massive deficits, and the dangers of international terrorism and nuclear proliferation.
Chuck Close, an artist famous since the late 1960s for his large-scale heads, suggests both Obama's challenges and his optimism in these tapestries. Based on photographs taken in 2012 and created as a campaign fundraiser, the pair capture the president's serious demeanor and his ready smile in a scale that can be read as both approachable and authoritative.
Chuck Close, 2012
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Directly Related Pages: Other pages here that have content directly related to this one:
2006_DC_SIPG_Pres: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center for Amer Art & Portraiture -- America's Presidents (35 photos from 2006)
2007_DC_SIPG_Pres: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center for Amer Art & Portraiture -- America's Presidents (5 photos from 2007)
2008_DC_SIPG_Pres: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center for Amer Art & Portraiture -- America's Presidents (13 photos from 2008)
2009_DC_SIPG_Pres: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center for Amer Art & Portraiture -- America's Presidents (219 photos from 2009)
2010_DC_SIPG_Pres: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center for Amer Art & Portraiture -- America's Presidents (11 photos from 2010)
2011_DC_SIPG_Pres: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center for Amer Art & Portraiture -- America's Presidents (29 photos from 2011)
2012_DC_SIPG_Pres: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center for Amer Art & Portraiture -- America's Presidents (11 photos from 2012)
2013_05_04ZK_SIPG_Pres: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center for Amer Art & Portraiture -- America's Presidents (5 photos from 05/04/2013)
Generally-Related Subject Description: The country's original patent office building burned down in 1836. From 1839 to 1866, another was built. Designed by Robert Mills who also designed the Capitol and Treasury buildings, it was based in part on the design of the Parthenon with marble hallways and Doric columns. During the Civil War, it was used as both a troop barracks and a hospital; both Clara Barton and Walt Whitman nursed wounded soldiers here. Abraham Lincoln held his second inaugural ball in the main gallery in March 1865, one month before his assassination. When the building's construction was finished, it was the largest building in the country. The Patent Office moved to the Dept of Commerce building in 1932. The Civil Service Commission took over until they moved to their new headquarters in 1960. Saved from destruction by the Commission of Fine Arts, the building was turned over to the Smithsonian which established two galleries -- the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American Art -- in the building.
The building closed in January 2000 for a $200 million renovation. It reopened on July 1, 2006. In the interim, it beefed up its virtual presence on the Web at http://www.npg.si.edu and had a number of exhibits have been touring the country. One of those is on American woman and "A Brush with History: Paintings from the National Portrait Gallery". In the spring of 2001, a generous $30 million donation from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation of Las Vegas, Nevada allowed it to purchase the "Lansdowne" portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart.
The building closed well before I purchased my first digital camera and once it reopened, I found myself taking lots and lots of pictures. For example, during the reopening day on July 1, 2006, I took over 3,500 pictures. To keep the numbers on each page smaller, I separated them out by theme, sometimes somewhat arbitrarily, so you'll see separate listings for:
-- America's Presidents (paintings, sculpture, etc ...More...
Generally-Related Subject Pages: Other pages here that have content somewhat related to this one:
2009_DC_SIPG_1934: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center -- Special Exhibits -- 1934: A New Deal for Artists (154 photos from 2009)
2008_DC_SIPG_Scholars: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center -- Special Exhibits -- 2008 Presidential Scholars in the Arts (5 photos from 2008)
2011_DC_SIPG_Scholars: DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center -- Special Exhibits -- 2011 Presidential Scholars in the Arts (4 photos from 2011)
Same Subject: Click on this link to see coverage of items having the same subject:
2013 photos: So far, my camera is mostly the Fuji X-S1 but, depending on the event, I'm also using a Nikon D7000 and Nikon D600.
Trips this year have been limited to a Civil War Trust conference in Memphis.