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Official Portraits of the U.S. Presidents

  • This full-length portrait of George Washington was painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1797, the final year of his presidency. While other artists had depicted Washington as a military leader, Stuart became the first portraitist to paint an authoritative image of Washington as the country's first president. Washington holds a sword in his left hand, alluding to his past military service, but appears in civilian clothes, emphasizing the fact that he had resigned his commission as a military leader. A book entitled Constitution and Laws of the United States leans against the table leg. The portrait was installed in the White House in November 1800. During the War of 1812, First Lady Dolley Madison famously saved the portrait from near-certain demise. Before vacating the premises on August 24, 1814, Mrs. Madison ordered that official papers and the Washington portrait should be saved from British hands. The painting returned to the White House after it was rebuilt in 1817. Washington served as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The first president was in office from April 30, 1789 until March 4, 1797.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 9/9/2016
    File name: 21.tif
  • This portrait of John Adams was completed in the early 1790s by John Trumbull, an artist who painted portraits for several prominent politicians of the time. At the time of the portrait, Adams served as George Washington's vice president. He would succeed Washington as president on March 4, 1797 and served until March 4, 1801.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 25.tif
  • This portrait of Thomas Jefferson was painted by Rembrandt Peale in 1800, when Jefferson served as vice president to John Adams, whom he would succeed in the presidency in 1801. Peale's likeness became one of the most popular images of Jefferson, lauded for the warmth and serenity it conveys. The author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson served as president from March 4, 1801 until March 4, 1809.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 55.tif
  • This portrait of James Madison was painted by American artist John Vanderlyn in 1816, towards the end of Madison's presidency. James Monroe, Madison's close friend and successor, commissioned the portrait. Madison served in the House of Representatives and the cabinet. He was president from March 4, 1809 until March 4, 1817.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 24.tif
  • This portrait of James Monroe was painted by Samuel F. B. Morse circa 1819, during Monroe's presidency. Though Morse is better known as the inventor of the telegraph, he first earned a reputation as an accomplished artist. Monroe served in the Senate and held multiple cabinet positions before being elected president. He served from March 4, 1817 until March 4, 1825.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 31.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of President John Quincy Adams was done by George Peter Alexander Healy. Healy was one of the most popular and prolific portraitists of the mid-nineteenth century. John Quincy Adams was the son of President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams. Prior to his presidency, Quincy Adams was a diplomat to the Netherlands, Prussia, Russia, and the United Kingdom. He served as Secretary of State under President James Monroe and is the only president who went on to serve in the House of Representatives after being president. Adams represented his home state, Massachusetts, in the House.
    Keywords: portrait
    Last Modified: 1/10/2017
    File name: 33.tif
  • This portrait of President Andrew Jackson was painted ca. 1835 by Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl, sometimes referred to as Ralph E. W. Earl. Earl worked frequently with President Jackson, painting portraits of his friends and family including Jackson's niece Emily Tennessee Donelson, who served as White House hostess during Jackson's administration. Jackson was president from March 4, 1829 until March 4, 1837. He had served in the House of Representatives and the Senate prior to his time in the White House, but was most famous for his victories as a Major General in the War of 1812.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/2/2017
    File name: 4.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of President Martin Van Buren was done by George Peter Alexander Healy. Healy was one of the most popular and prolific portraitists of the mid-nineteenth century. Prior to becoming president, Van Buren was the governor of New York and represented New York in the U.S.┬áSenate. He was also the Vice President for President Andrew Jackson. His administration was from 1837 to 1841.
    Keywords: portrait
    Last Modified: 1/10/2017
    File name: 40.tif
  • This portrait of William Henry Harrison was painted by James Reid Lambdin in 1835, five years before he became president. Harrison, known for his military service in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, had retired to civilian life by the time Lambdin painted his portrait. Harrison came out of retirement in 1840 and won the presidential election. After serving only thirty-two days, however, Harrison became the first President to die in office. His term remains the shortest presidential tenure. Lambdin's painting later became his official presidential portrait. Harrison's grandson, Benjamin, would be elected president in 1889.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 60.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of President John Tyler was done by George Peter Alexander Healy. Healy was one of the most popular and prolific portraitists of the mid-nineteenth century. Tyler became president after President William Henry Harrison passed away from pneumonia a month into his presidency. Tyler was the first Vice President to become President without being elected to the office. He served out the remainder of Harrison's term, from 1841 to 1845. Prior to his roles in the executive branch, Tyler represented the State of Virginia in both the U.S.┬áHouse of Representatives and the Senate.
    Keywords: portrait
    Last Modified: 1/10/2017
    File name: 659.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of President James Polk was done by popular portraitist George Peter Alexander Healy (sometimes known as G. P. A. Healy) in 1858, nine years after Polk's death. Prior to his time in the White House, Polk served in the House of Representatives and was governor of Tennessee. He served as president from March 4, 1845 until March 4, 1849. He added to the size of the country by annexing the Republic of Texas and acquiring California, New Mexico, and the Oregon Territory, which includes the current day states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 30.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of President Zachary Taylor was done by Joseph H. Bush. It is his official presidential portrait. Taylor had a distinguished military career before being elected president. He fought in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Second Seminole War (where he earned the nickname "Old Rough and Ready"), and became a national hero during the Mexican-American War. He took office on March 4, 1849 but died suddenly on July 9, 1850 and was succeeded by Vice President Millard Fillmore.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 64.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of President Millard Fillmore was done by George Peter Alexander Healy, sometimes known as G. P. A. Healy. Healy was one of the most popular and prolific portraitists of the mid-nineteenth century. Millard Fillmore had served in the House of Representatives and was Vice President when President Zachary Taylor died suddenly while in office in 1850. Fillmore served as President from July 9, 1850 until March 4, 1853.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 38.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of President Franklin Pierce was done by George Peter Alexander Healy, sometimes known as G. P. A. Healy. Healy was one of the most popular and prolific portraitists of the mid-nineteenth century. President Pierce fought in the Mexican-American War with the rank of brigadier general and represented New Hampshire in both the House of Representative and the Senate prior to becoming president.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 14.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of President James Buchanan was done by John Henry Brown. Prior to his presidency, Buchanan had served in the House of Representatives and the Senate, was Secretary of State under Presidents Polk and Taylor and served as an ambassador. He was president from March 4, 1857 until March 4, 1861.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 122.tif
  • This portrait of Abraham Lincoln was created by George Peter Alexander Healy (sometimes known as G. P. A. Healy) in 1869, not long after Lincoln's assassination on April 15, 1865. Lincoln originally sat for Healy in 1864, and the artist depicted Lincoln in this pose in a painting entitled The Peacemakers, an 1868 work that showed Lincoln conferring with Union military leaders during the final days of the Civil War. After Lincoln's death, Healy realized that the painting made an impressive portrait of Lincoln alone and painted three replicas, one of which became part of the White House collection. Lincoln became president on March 4, 1861 and had served in the House of Representatives earlier in his life.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 5.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of President Andrew Johnson was done by celebrated portraitist Eliphalet Frazer Andrews. As Abraham Lincoln's vice president, Johnson succeeded to the presidency after Lincoln's assassination in April 1865 and left office on March 4, 1869. Johnson is one of only two US Presidents to serve in Congress after leaving the White House, the other being John Quincy Adams. Johnson served in the Senate. He had served as governor of Tennessee prior to his time in the White House.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 3.tif
  • This oil on canvas painting of Ulysses S. Grant was done by Henry Ulke. Ulke emigrated from Prussia following the Revolution of 1848 and painted portraits of presidents, cabinet members, and other notable people. Prior to his presidency, Grant was a Civil War military leader who became Commanding General of the United States in March of 1864. He served as president from March 4, 1869 until March 4, 1877.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 57.tif
  • This oil on canvas portrait of President Rutherford B. Hayes was done by Daniel Huntington. In the beginning of Huntington's career, he painted landscapes in the tradition of the Hudson River School, but later predominately produced portraits. Prior to being president, Hayes served in the Union Army during the Civil War as an officer and was promoted to colonel and then to brevet brigadier general. After the war he was the U.S. Representative for Ohio's second district before being twice elected that state's governor. He served as president from March 4, 1877 until March 4, 1881.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 45.tif
  • This oil on canvas portrait of President James A. Garfield was painted by Calvin Curtis. Prior to being president, Garfield served as a major general in the Union Army during the Civil War and subsequently represented Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 20 years. He was shot four months into his first term as President in 1881 and died three months later.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 80.tif
  • This oil on canvas portrait of President Chester A. Arthur was done by Daniel Huntington. In the beginning of Huntington's career, he painted landscapes in the tradition of the Hudson River School, but later predominately produced portraits. Arthur became president after James Garfield was assassinated in 1881. He served the remainder of Garfield's term but was not renominated in 1884, partly due to poor health. His term in office ended on March 4, 1885.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 7.tif
  • This oil on canvas portrait of President Grover Cleveland was painted by Eastman Johnson. Johnson's career covered several subjects including portraits of famous Americans and Native American communities. Cleveland was elected president twice, but in non-consecutive terms, serving from 1885-1889, then from 1893-1897. Prior to his first presidency, Cleveland had been governor of New York.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 16.tif
  • This oil on canvas portrait of President Benjamin Harrison was done by Eastman Johnson. Johnson's career covered several subjects including portraits of famous Americans and Native American communities. Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States. He was a Senator prior to serving as president from March 4, 1889 until March 4, 1893.
    Keywords: portrait
    Last Modified: 2/14/2017
    File name: 6.tif
  • This oil on canvas portrait of President William McKinley was done by Harriet A. S. Murphy. Prior to becoming president, McKinley served multiple terms in the House of Representatives and was governor of Ohio. McKinley served as president from March 4, 1897 until he was shot and died on September 14, 1901, six months into his second term.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 2/23/2016
    File name: 62.tif
  • This portrait of Theodore Roosevelt was painted by renowned artist John Singer Sargent in 1903. Architect Charles McKim, who oversaw major renovations to the White House occurring at the time, invited Sargent to paint Roosevelt's portrait. Though the artist later complained that Roosevelt would agree to only short sittings, the president was very pleased with the end result. On February 19 he wrote in a letter to his son Kermit, noting that "This afternoon I had my last sitting with Mr. Sargent. I like his picture enormously." A former governor of New York, Roosevelt became president upon the assassination of William McKinley, on September 14, 1901 and served until March 4, 1909.
    Keywords: official portrait
    Last Modified: 9/9/2016
    File name: 56.tif