National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery We tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation’s history, development and culture. Make I Contact. Meet the most remarkable Americans all in one place.
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From George Washington to George Carlin, Sequoyah to Rosa Parks, James Monroe to Marilyn Monroe, we are home to the icons of our nation's history and culture. Join us to discover the nation's story through the people who've shaped it. On-topic discussion is encouraged in a civil manner. Please treat other users with respect. Legal: si.edu/legal

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Sylvia Plath was one of the most dynamic and admired writers of the 20th century. Born in 1932 in Boston, Plath was a gi...
11/30/2020

Sylvia Plath was one of the most dynamic and admired writers of the 20th century. Born in 1932 in Boston, Plath was a gifted student who had won numerous awards and had published stories and poetry in national magazines while still in her teens.

It was during her undergraduate years that Plath began to suffer symptoms of severe depression that would ultimately lead to her death. Her experiences of breakdown and recovery were later turned into fiction for her only published novel, The Bell Jar.

📷: Rollie McKenna, 1959. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Rollie McKenna. © Rosalie Thorne McKenna Foundation, courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona Foundation.

🎂 Born on this day in 1832, Mary Edwards Walker is the first female surgeon in the U.S. Army, where she served as an ass...
11/28/2020

🎂 Born on this day in 1832, Mary Edwards Walker is the first female surgeon in the U.S. Army, where she served as an assistant surgeon during the Civil War.

Captured by Confederate troops in April 1864, she spent four months in a Richmond prison before being exchanged for a Confederate surgeon. Within a month of her release, she was back to treating wounded soldiers around Atlanta, Georgia, following the surrender of the city.

Following the war, Walker lobbied for a brevet promotion due to her service, but was denied on the basis that she had never been a commissioned military officer. Instead, President Andrew Johnson signed an order on November 11, 1865 awarding her the Medal of Honor, the first and only woman in history to receive the award. After receiving the medal, Walker wore it every day.

📷: Mathew Brady Studio, c. 1860-1870. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection

The trailblazing scholar Linda Nochlin’s landmark essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” details how longst...
11/26/2020

The trailblazing scholar Linda Nochlin’s landmark essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” details how longstanding institutional and societal structures made it “impossible for women to achieve artistic excellence, or success, on the same footing as men, no matter what the potency of their so-called talent, or genius.”

For this portrait, artist Deborah Kass riffed on Warhol’s Orange Car Crash from his Death and Disaster series. Kass wrote, “This would be called Orange Disaster (Linda Nochlin), because what else could you call the woman who changed art history as I and all before me had learned it? … Who, besides Linda Nochlin, struck the first and fiercest blow against the white male canon?”

📷: Orange Disaster (Linda Nochlin) by Deborah Kass, 1997. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © 1997 Deborah Kass.

In the last years of George Washington’s life, his likeness became synonymous with the country and circulated widely in ...
11/24/2020

In the last years of George Washington’s life, his likeness became synonymous with the country and circulated widely in a variety of media, including paintings, prints, and marble statues. The most enduring portrait of Washington is Gilbert Stuart’s unfinished “Athenaeum” portrait, from 1796, which served as the basis for the image engraved on the one-dollar bill.

Stuart’s Red, White, and Blue reinterprets the “Athenaeum” portrait with a Pop art twist. Using Andy Warhol’s strategy of serial repetition, Sante Graziani appropriates and replicates Washington’s portrait multiple times in the colors of the American flag.

📷: Stuart's Red, White and Blue by Sante Graziani, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of The Friends of the Corcoran and the artist through a Museum Exchange) The Corcoran Gallery of Art, one of the country’s first private museums, was established in 1869 to promote art and American genius. In 2014 the Works from the Corcoran Collection were distributed to institutions in Washington, D.C. © Estate of Sante Graziani; George Washington (The Athenaeum Portrait) by Gilbert Stuart, 1796. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; owned jointly with Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to ending apartheid in South Africa and establishing a democratic government. After st...
11/21/2020

Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to ending apartheid in South Africa and establishing a democratic government. After studying law in Johannesburg, he joined the African National Congress in 1942, and began his long fight against the South African government’s racist policies through nonviolent protest. Following his active resistance in the early 1960s, including leading strikes for workers, Mandela was incarcerated as a political prisoner for nearly thirty years (1962–90). When Frederick Willem de Klerk became the president of South Africa, he ordered Mandela’s release, and the two worked together to end apartheid and lay the foundations for democracy. They were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

After South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as the country’s first Black president, with de Klerk as his first deputy. Mandela established a strong central government and protected the country’s economy until his retirement from politics in 1999.

📷: Untitled (Nelson Mandela) by Robert McCurdy, 2009. The Cumming Collection

Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the Natio...
11/19/2020

Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time, and will share updates on social media and our website, si.edu.

Visitors who had reserved timed-entry passes to visit at a future date are being contacted directly. https://www.si.edu/newsdesk/releases/smithsonian-museums-and-national-zoo-close-nov-23

While our spaces are closed, you can always experience the Smithsonian online. Explore millions of pieces from across our collections, plus online exhibitions, videos and more: si.edu/online.

We also have free, quality resources from Smithsonian Education for teachers, students and caregivers. These focus on pre-K through 12 education, including low-tech and no-tech options and some Spanish/English learning resources: learninglab.si.edu/distancelearning

Sylvia Beach loved books, and, having a special passion for French literature, she once toyed with opening a French book...
11/19/2020

Sylvia Beach loved books, and, having a special passion for French literature, she once toyed with opening a French bookstore in New York City. A French friend convinced her to instead establish a combination bookstore and lending library in Paris, specializing in English and American books. Opened on this day in 1919, it was called Shakespeare and Company, the enterprise at first drew a mostly French clientele. By the early 1920s, it had become a major gathering place for the English and American writers who flocked to Paris after World War I, and its patrons eventually included Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway.

📷: Sylvia Beach, Myrsine Moschos and Lucky, c. 1924. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

In 1908, Albert Einstein presented his quantum theory of light. The German-born physicist was visiting the United States...
11/18/2020

In 1908, Albert Einstein presented his quantum theory of light. The German-born physicist was visiting the United States when Hitler and the Nazis came to power in his homeland in 1933. Einstein never returned to Germany. Instead, he accepted a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey—the newly established academic institution that would become a major center for research in theoretical physics.

📷: Albert Einstein by Roy Andersen, 1979. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine. © Roy Andersen.

Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Alice Walker is a model of the engaged intellectual: her fiction is infused with the sense of...
11/17/2020

Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Alice Walker is a model of the engaged intellectual: her fiction is infused with the sense of righteous purpose that drove her early involvement in the civil rights movement of the 1960s when she was a college student. In the 1980s, she helped popularize the term “womanist” as a way to recognize the diverging priorities of women of color from those of their white feminist counterparts.

In addition to writing poetry and criticism, Walker has published several novels, including The Color Purple, which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The book quickly rose to the top of the best-seller list, and its film adaptation was nominated for eleven Academy Awards.

On View ➟ "Her Story: A Century of Women Writers"

📷: Alice Walker by Bernard Gotfryd, 1976. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © The Bernard Gotfryd Revocable Living Trust

Every Eye Is Upon Me is open through May 23, 2021! #NPGFirstLadies
11/16/2020
'Every Eye Is Upon Me': NPG's Much-Awaited First Ladies Exhibit Now Open : K Street Magazine

Every Eye Is Upon Me is open through May 23, 2021! #NPGFirstLadies

Kate Michael, @kstreetkate, is a Writer/Model/On-Camera Host and Event Emcee. Notable as the Founder and current Editor-At-Large of K Street Magazine, Kate started the site while serving as Miss District of Columbia 2006 and competing in Miss America (2007). Currently, Kate works as a professional s...

"Nancy Reagan’s inaugural dress and a suit worn by Jackie Kennedy are on view at the National Portrait Gallery, alongsid...
11/16/2020
The Smithsonian Reveals the Glamorous Wardrobe Secrets of America’s First Ladies

"Nancy Reagan’s inaugural dress and a suit worn by Jackie Kennedy are on view at the National Portrait Gallery, alongside Michelle Obama’s gowns and Mary Lincoln’s capes."

Nancy Reagan’s inaugural dress and a suit worn by Jackie Kennedy are on view at the National Portrait Gallery, alongside Michelle Obama’s gowns and Mary Lincoln’s capes.

When Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One two hours after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy ...
11/15/2020

When Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One two hours after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor Johnson became first lady. This 1968 portrait shows her in a gown similar to the one she wore to the inaugural ball in 1965. Today, Lady Bird Johnson is often associated with the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, an initiative that incorporated historic site preservation, natural resource conservation, and environmental protection. For her successful efforts, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1988. "Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States" is on view! #NPGFirstLadies

📷: Lady Bird Johnson by Elizabeth Avinoff Shoumatoff, 1968. The White House.

As the boycott of Montgomery, Alabama’s racially segregated buses entered its third month, Rosa Parks was arrested for t...
11/13/2020

As the boycott of Montgomery, Alabama’s racially segregated buses entered its third month, Rosa Parks was arrested for the second time. As one of 115 Black Montgomerians—including Martin Luther King Jr.—to be indicted by the county grand jury on charges of violating a 1921 Alabama law prohibiting boycotts, Parks was taken into custody and jailed on February 22, 1956.

Although the Montgomery Improvement Association quickly posted Parks’s bail, this wire service photo of the dignified seamstress being fingerprinted by Deputy Sheriff D. H. Lackey appeared the next day on the front page of the New York Times and ran in countless newspapers across the nation.

Continuing for an unprecedented 381 days, the bus boycott ended only after the United States Supreme Court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional on this day in 1956.

📷: Gene Herrick, February 22, 1956. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © Gene Herrick/Associated Press.

"The exhibition features painted portraits, photographs, sculptures, campaign buttons and other first lady ephemera." #N...
11/13/2020
First Ladies: A New Exhibition Explores Their Lasting Effect

"The exhibition features painted portraits, photographs, sculptures, campaign buttons and other first lady ephemera." #NPGFirstLadies

The exhibition features painted portraits, photographs, sculptures, campaign buttons and other first lady ephemera.

11/12/2020

Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States opens tomorrow! #NPGFirstLadies

Get museum tickets at si.edu/visit.

A luminous beauty whose film career spanned just six years (1951–56), Grace Kelly was born on this day in 1929. After he...
11/12/2020

A luminous beauty whose film career spanned just six years (1951–56), Grace Kelly was born on this day in 1929. After her 1951 film debut in a minor role, she received wide notice for her performance opposite Gary Cooper in 1952's High Noon. A year later, Kelly garnered her first Academy Award nomination for her work in Mogambo.

In 1954 she starred in four major releases, including the Alfred Hitchcock thrillers Dial M for Murder and Rear Window, and the drama The Country Girl, for which she won the Best Actress Oscar. 🏆 Kelly scored additional hits with To Catch a Thief and the musical High Society before ending her Hollywood career to marry Monaco’s Prince Rainier in April 1956.

📷: Mark Shaw, 1953. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © The Mark Shaw Photographic Archive.

11/02/2020

TOMORROW 2 PM → Join the National Portrait Gallery in our annual Día de los Muertos event - a Mexican celebration of life, memory, identity, and culture. This year we're taking the program outside as we invite the public to remember loved ones and victims of COVID-19 - a pandemic that disproportionately impacts Latinx communities in the United States.

Altars on the museum steps will give visitors a chance to contribute their own memories via artwork, photos, or other items. A 2-hour live visual performance by MasPaz and Guache will be projected onto the museum facade, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Please note: Masks and social distancing are required. This event will be photographed and recorded.

As the first black regiment to be organized in a Northern state, the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Colored Regiment include...
10/26/2020

As the first black regiment to be organized in a Northern state, the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Colored Regiment included recruits from twenty-five states as well as Canada. In late May 1863, under the leadership of its white commander, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the Fifty-Fourth was ordered to the South Carolina coast to prepare to take the city of Charleston. Fort Wagner, the heavily fortified Confederate bastion that guarded Charleston’s main shipping channel, was the regiment’s target. The Fifty-Fourth began its attack at dusk on July 18, 1863.
Despite withering Confederate fire that decimated their ranks and killed Colonel Shaw, the men of the Fifty-Fourth bravely mounted two assaults before the fort’s defenders drove them back. Although a defeat for Union forces, the admirable performance of the Fifty-Fourth laid to rest any lingering doubts about African American soldiers’ fitness for battle.
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Image Credit: Kurz & Allison Lithography Company, 1890. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Drowned in a shipwreck, Margaret Fuller is the tragic heroine of the Transcendentalist movement-an idealistic American l...
10/25/2020

Drowned in a shipwreck, Margaret Fuller is the tragic heroine of the Transcendentalist movement-an idealistic American literary and philosophical movement that stressed the unity of all creation. Eccentric, beguiling, and at times maddeningly erratic, Fuller had an electric impact on her mostly male colleagues, not least because she was a talented editor and writer on contemporary culture.

She edited the Transcendentalist journal The Dial with Ralph Waldo Emerson and George Ripley and became a critic for Horace Greeley's New York Tribune. In 1839 she began a conversation group among Boston's women that led to the treatise Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845). While traveling in Europe, where she assisted in the cause of Italian nationalism, she married an Italian marchese. She and her family died on their return voyage to the United States.
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Image Credit: Thomas Hicks, 1848. Gift of Constance Fuller Threinen, great-granddaughter of Margaret Fuller's brother, the Rev. Arthur Buckminster Fuller, who was a Unitarian minister in Boston, a chaplain in the Civil War, and was killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862.

Soon after Abraham Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination, in May of 1860, sculptor Leonard Wells Volk made ...
10/23/2020

Soon after Abraham Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination, in May of 1860, sculptor Leonard Wells Volk made casts of Lincoln’s hands. The right hand is shown grasping a sawed-off section of a broom handle, which Lincoln obligingly fetched from a shed when the artist suggested that he hold on to something. Lincoln smoothed the edges of the wood, reportedly saying, “I thought I would like to have it nice.”

During their session, Volk was already thinking of using these casts, in combination with his recently completed Lincoln bust, to fashion a full-length statue.

With a voice said to rival that of Italian diva Adelina Patti, soprano Sissieretta Jones became an international star wh...
10/22/2020

With a voice said to rival that of Italian diva Adelina Patti, soprano Sissieretta Jones became an international star whose repertoire ranged from grand opera arias to popular ballads. A classically trained singer, Jones made her New York City debut at Steinway Hall in April 1888.

After an admiring critic dubbed her “the Black Patti,” she was promoted as such for the remainder of her career. Touring extensively from 1888 until 1896, Jones delighted audiences at home and abroad with solo recitals as well as performances with a variety of musical ensembles.

Although her venues included opera houses and concert halls, racial barriers prevented Jones from performing in mainstream opera. In 1896, she took her career in a new direction by forming Black Patti’s Troubadours, a touring troupe of African American entertainers whose vaudevillian offerings were paired with “operatic kaleidoscopes” showcasing Jones’s extraordinary vocal gifts.
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Image Credit: Napoleon Sarony,c. 1895. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Lecture: Suzanne Valadon: An Artist on View. 1010 Live Stream. Join us:- https://pastelink.net/24ks6 Join us:- https://pastelink.net/24ks6
In searching Family history, read an article about Bartholomew Gosnold, realizing you have him at the Smithsonian. They said, they believe it's him, needed DNA to comfirm. My maternal side, is related to him, he's my first cousin 13 times removed. Sir Robert Gosnold III. is my 12th Great Grandfather. Can my DNA confirm if it's him? Thank you all, for all the work you've done, to find him. Looking forward, in hearing from you. Virginia
How wonderful to be back in your space for a visit today. Everything is being handled perfectly for a safe museum visit. We had a wonderful time and will be back soon.
May we never forget! "The World Keeps Spinning Round!" Fred Barreto and I wrote this song after 911 and, given our current state, it resonates even more strongly today.
I have a little a book published in l851 which shows a engraving of George Washington when he reviewing the Continental Army on Boston Common in 1776. Who could put a value of this for me.
At this precise moment in American history, we are finding ourselves cleansing any and all names associated with racism directed at African Americans from the public arena. One of these names resides at The National Portrait Gallery; the name, and bust, of one Margaret Sanger. In this time of self-cleansing, will this Institution take the lead, and remove this bust from public display; the bust of the likeness of the person that said " We don't want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population "? We Americans would expect the Smithsonian Institute to not only participate in this quest, but be a lead voice. We are expecting this Organization to do the right thing.
I've looked around a bit and please excuse me if I missed it, but is there any word on re-opening? I had been looking forward to seeing the Sargent charcoal portrait exhibit for months and am now worried that it will need to move on before you re-open and won't get to see it.
----Definition - Ineptitude ,,,, When you submit Unknown Lincoln Image's to the National Portrait Gallery and they are denied because of ineptitude by the person reviewing them !
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen at the National Portrait Gallery, I hope you are doing just fine. I would like to show you this oil painting that I just finished. It took 6 weeks of full time work, and measures 5 ft high. I hope you like it. My best regards. (if you want to see this and other works in progress please go to my instagram: pacolealart ) Thank you.
Hanna Wigart Photography #WWD2020 #SUSTAININGALLLIFEONEARTH #VICTORIAFALLSZIMBABWE #WILDLIFEPHOTOGRAPHICEXHIBITION
Excellent lecture...
Ava DuVernay just tweeted about my work in the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin 2019 exhibition. #georgestinneyjr