Since the U.S. Presidential inauguration is upon us, I thought it would be a good time to whip out my photo set of images from the “Portraits of the Presidents” gallery at the Smithsonian in DC.
Some notable observations from my trip there last April:
- George Washington has the most portraits (1, 2, 3, 4),
- John Adams has one of the most stiff (it was by John Trumbull),
- Grover Cleveland’s by Anders Zorn is my favorite,
- “Ulysses S. Grant” by Mathew Brady (1864) is pretty damn poignant and sensitive though it clocks in as the smallest,
- “John Quincy Adams” by George Caleb Bingham (c. 1850, from an 1844 original) is his dad’s only real competition for dullest portrait in the gallery (what’s up with the Adam’s family taste in portraits?),
- Elaine de Kooning’s JFK is quite nice but a little out of place,
- I had no idea Norman Rockwell painted Richard Nixon (somehow very fitting), and
- Clinton’s portrait is the most obnoxious–though to be fair, I hear he also has a much smaller and better one by Chuck Close that isn’t always on view.
Most random fact: As we were walking around the gallery, one of the security guards pointed at Veken’s tshirt and said loudly, “That’s Eleanor Roosevelt.” And then started laughing at his Fuck Yoga tshirt (a now defunct NY tshirt brand). So, I felt obligated to take a photo of the tshirt and the portrait of Eleanor together.
UPDATE: I spoke too soon, our favorite midwestern art blogger, Paul Schmelzer, has discovered that fuck yoga is still available online!
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