In the Spotlight

News & Features
Your Voice
DocumentJoin the conversation with other MPR listeners in the News Forum.

DocumentE-mail this pageDocumentPrint this page
Portrait of George Washington on display
Larger view
This portrait is known as the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington, and was painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1796. Sen. and Mrs. William Bingham of Pennsylvania commissioned this painting as a gift to the Marquis of Lansdowne, an English supporter of American independence. (Courtesy of Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery)

Minneapolis, Minn. — Minnesota was not even a state when George Washington led the country. But the nation's first president is finally making a visit of sorts -- at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

With the display of this portrait, we celebrate Washington’s role in history ... his effect on our own lives today, on the nation, and on the system we have all inherited. It is a precious legacy.
- Mark Pachter, National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian is taking Gilbert Stuart's 1796 portrait of Washington on a tour of the western United States. Stuart is the same artist who created the image of Washington on the $1 bill. The MIA is the only Midwestern stop for the portrait, which is valued at $20 million.

Mark Pachter, director of the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, gave MPR's Greta Cunningham a sneek peek of the famous portrait. He says the Smithsonian is remodeling the area where the painting normally hangs. So this is the last time the 8-foot-by-5-foot painting will leave it's Washington D.C. home.

We decided for one time only to send George around on a victory lap around the country," Pachter says. "But there are very few places that a precious 18th century painting can go. ... We decided first of all it would have to go West of the Mississippi, because it's harder for people to get to Washington. And then we looked at the best art museums around the country and where it could be best handled, and Minneapolis just came up golden."

The portrait of George Washington will be on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts through Nov. 30.

To listen to Greta's interview with Mark Pachter, click on the audio link in the right column.

Respond to this story
News Headlines
Related Subjects