Presidential portraiture has a long history, beginning with Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington and extending across centuries to Kehinde Wiley’s vivid commission of Barack Obama, unveiled just this week. While collecting images of our most revered officials is nothing new, the National Portrait Gallery (a Smithsonian institution) which opened its doors 1968 only began commissioning presidential portraits with George H. W. Bush. The museum initiated First Lady commissions beginning with Hillary Rodham Clinton. Slide two highlights the evolution of this art form in the modern context. ◼️ As a site commemorating the 1779/80 winter encampment of General Washington, we have the privilege of housing important Washingtonia, several of artistic significance. Pictured on the first slide, in a side by side with Wiley’s work, is our circa 1798 Gilbert Stuart. This work was part of the Lidgerwood acquisition, transferred to National Park Service custody by the Washington Association of New Jersey at the park’s founding. This oil on canvas has been on display off and on for over seventy years. ◼️This spring the Stuart has been moved into storage to make room for a recently conserved work attributed to Edward Savage. This circa 1795 oil on canvas has been stabilized and restored and is proudly on display in our Colonial Life Gallery, at the Washington’s Headquarters Museum. (Images: side by side of Gilbert Stuart ‘George Washington’ and Kehinde Wiley ‘Barack Obama’ -image @smithsoniannpg
, compilation of Presidential portraiture beginning with Harry S. Truman -image @dominiemahl
, and MORR 3252, George Washington.) #findyourpark #encuentratuparque #artinthepark #artconservation #presidentialportraits #georgewashington #gilbertstuart #barackobama #kehindewiley #edwardsavage #morristownnhp
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