View of “America’s Presidents” exhibition; Photo: Matailong Du

America’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House is currently on lavish display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., as part of an extensive four-phase renovation.

A portrait of former President Barack Obama by acclaimed artist Chuck Close from 2013 is among the artworks on brilliant display at Washington’s National Portrait Gallery. Titled “America’s Presidents,” the temporary exhibition will offer visitors a change to “see an enhanced and extended display of multiple images of all the United States presidents,” the museum reports, “including Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of George Washington, currently on loan from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The exhibition also features 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 are 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.”

View of “America’s Presidents” exhibition; Photo: Matailong Du
View of “America’s Presidents” exhibition; Photo: Matailong Du
Chuck Close, “Barack Obama,” 2013, woodburytype, © National Portrait Gallery, Two Palms and Chuck Close
Chuck Close, “Barack Obama,” 2013, woodburytype, © National Portrait Gallery, Two Palms and Chuck Close
View of “America’s Presidents” exhibition; Photo: Matailong Du
View of “America’s Presidents” exhibition; Photo: Matailong Du
View of “America’s Presidents” exhibition; Photo: Matailong Du
View of “America’s Presidents” exhibition; Photo: Matailong Du

“America’s Presidents” is temporarily on view now through September 4 at the museum’s west gallery on the second floor. On September 22, the exhibition reopens at the newly restored and refurbished “America’s President’s Gallery.” Gilbert Stuart’s “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington will also be reinstalled after September 22 after 18 months of careful conservation and analysis.

To learn more, visit the National Portrait Gallery.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the Editor of Fine Art Today and works as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.

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