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Barack is back (at the National Portrait Gallery)

The Art Newspaper

Chuck Close's Woodburytype diptych portrait of Barack Obama (2013) 2013, Two Palms and Chuck Close

Today, 22 September, the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Washington, DC, fully re-opened its America's Presidents Gallery, which shows portraits of all 44 past presidents of the United States of America, after a refurbishment and re-hang. The “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart is back on display after an 18-month hiatus for conservation and analysis, while Barack Obama is represented by a diptych of Woodburytype portraits by Chuck Close, which made its NPG debut in a temporary exhibition last March. (Forty-four’s official portrait, which will replace the diptych in the hall, has not been completed, but is expected to come to the museum next year. The artist has not yet been announced.) According to the NPG’s statement on the hall’s re-opening, “Six presidents are given expanded attention because of their significant impact on the office: George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.” Will 45 be next?