19. The portrait of Warren G. Harding was the first painted from photographic reference.
20. Herbert Hoover’s official portrait – the second official portrait that was made of him – wasn’t completed until 23 years after he left office.
21. While in every other portrait the president’s eyes are visible, John F. Kennedy is depicted with his head down and arms crossed. Jackqueline Kennedy, his widow, asked that artist Aaron Shikler create an image that was different than the way “everybody else makes him look, with bags under his eyes and that penetrating gaze. I’m tired of that image.”
22. Shikler’s painting was inspired by a photograph of Teddy Kennedy standing at his brother’s gravesite.
Out: Bill and George W. In: Teddy and William
23. Traditionally, the portraits of the two most recent presidents are displayed in the Grand Foyer, a prominent entryway of the White House. In July 2020, the portraits of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were removed (the portrait of Barack Obama has not been installed yet) and replaced with the portraits of two Republican presidents from more than a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt and William McKinley.
24. In March 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting Act – also known as the Ego Act – barring use of federal funds to pay for federal officers and employees’ official oil portraits. This includes presidential presidents. (Since 2014, the annual budget has featured short-term bans on federal funding for oil portraits. The EGO Act makes the ban permanent.)
Of course, each work mentioned above is a framed portrait. At American Frame, we’re proud that many remain in their original wood frames, made by craftspeople of the day out of one of the country’s greatest natural resources.