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President and Mrs. Eisenhower

May 12, 1955 W. G. Williams oil on canvas and embossed paper with fabric and paper collage and plastic pearls 30 7/8 x 32 7/8 in. (78.4 x 83.5 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. 1989.78.1 Not currently on view


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W. G. Williams created this painting two years after Dwight Eisenhower became president in 1953. The artist based the features and clothing on news photos and included details such as Mamie Eisenhower’s famous pearls and hat (Lynda Hartigan, Made with Passion, 1990). He surrounded the figures with images from scripture, perhaps hoping that America’s leaders would look to the Bible for guidance.

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - religious - church

Object - other - flag

Occupation - political - first lady

Occupation - political - president

Portrait female - Eisenhower, Mamie - bust

Portrait male - Eisenhower, Dwight David - bust

Religion - New Testament - Good Shepherd

painting

folk art

fabric - muslin

paint - oil

paper

readymade - beads

fabric - canvas