WASHINGTON — When the National Portrait Gallery reopened for visitors last Friday, it did so with an addition to its famed exhibition of presidential portraits. There, in the second floor gallery, joining the likes of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, was Donald Trump, scowling from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.
Just as there are customs associated with the presidency, post-presidential life comes with its own set of expectations and privileges. One of them is the creation of a presidential library. Another is a presidential portrait. And while no plans for a Trump library have been announced, the portrait now on public display is a sign that Trump is entering the pantheon of presidents past, even as he considers a 2024 presidential run.
Trump joins iconic examples of presidential portraiture like Gilbert Stuart’s 1796 painting of George Washington and Elaine de Kooning’s abstracted view of John F. Kennedy, which reflects both the tumult and promise of the 1960s. Trump’s portrait, however, is a photograph, one taken by Pari Dukovic for Time magazine in 2019.
A traditional portrait, with oil paint on canvas, is “currently moving forward,” Smithsonian Institution spokesperson Brendan Kelly told Yahoo News. “We approached the president and Mrs. Trump after the 2020 election and are currently in conversations with them.”