The National Portrait Gallery has commissioned portraits of Donald and Melania Trump
Trump’s current photo on display at the gallery: “President Donald J. Trump for Time magazine in 2019” by Pari Dukovic, giclee print, 2019 (printed 2020). Published in Time magazine, July 1, 2019. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © 2019 Betting Dukovic.
Nearly a year after former President Donald Trump stepped down, portraits of him and former first lady Melania Trump are set to appear at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the museum announced Wednesday.
National Portrait Gallery spokeswoman Concetta Duncan confirmed Washingtonian that the museum commissioned portraits of Trump and the former first lady. Duncan declined to share additional details, such as the timeline for completion.
The National Portrait Gallery has a comprehensive collection of United States Presidents in its ongoing “America’s Presidents” exhibit. Since the 1990s, the museum has worked with the White House to commission a late-term portrait of a president to display in the exhibit, according to the museum’s website.
During the commissioning process, the museum typically shows the president and first lady a list of artists under consideration, the website says. Afterwards, the chair usually sits twice with the artist, according to the museum.
The museum began commissioning portraits of first ladies beginning with Hillary Clinton.
For portraits of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, the National Portrait Gallery announced the commissions in the fall after Obama’s departure and unveiled and installed them early the following year. The works, respectively by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, are currently on tour in the United States.
Robert Anderson, who painted former President George W. Bush on several occasions, including for “America’s Presidents,” said the artistic process took about two years.
During the process, Anderson and Bush visited the National Portrait Gallery, during which Bush told her, “I want you to feel free to do whatever you want, but I don’t want my portrait to be the most tall of the gallery. Anderson reminded Washingtonian.
Participating in the exhibit is a great honor for an American portrait painter, Anderson said.
“It was pretty heavy stuff,” Anderson said. “Early in my career, if someone said, ‘What would be the most important opportunity for you as a portrait artist in this country to aspire to,’ I think that would be it.”
The “America’s Presidents” exhibit currently features a photograph of Trump in the Oval Office, which Duncan says will be on view until the museum unveils the portrait. Pari Dukovic took the photo for Time in 2019.