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Every US president's and first lady's official portraits

  • First Lady: Frances Cleveland

    - Years active: 1886–1889, 1893–1897

    Anders Leonard Zorn captured the official portrait of the nation’s youngest-ever first lady in 1889. Frances Folsom was the daughter of Grover Cleveland’s former law partner, assuming the role of first lady at 21 years old following a White House wedding. Aside from hosting weekly parties for the social elite, Cleveland was known for holding Saturday afternoon events for working women.

  • President: Benjamin Harrison

    - Years active: 1889–1893

    The grandson of ninth President William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison served a single term between Grover Cleveland's presidencies. Artist Eastman Johnson captured Harrison’s official oil on canvas portrait two years after his White House departure in 1895. The Indiana-born Harrison was a Civil War hero, with his regiment instrumental in capturing Atlanta from the Confederacy.

  • First Lady: Caroline Harrison

    - Years active: 1889–1893

    A music teacher and activist prior to serving as first lady, Caroline Harrison’s official portrait was done in 1880 by Adolphe Yvon. She founded the Daughters of the American Revolution and persuaded Johns Hopkins University to begin admitting women through her fundraising efforts. A noted artist, Harrison’s vibrants portrait encapsulates her love of color and flowers.

  • President: William McKinley

    - Years active: 1897–1901

    Artist Harriet A.S. Murphy captured the 5 x 3-foot oil painting of President William McKinley posthumously in 1902. McKinley was shot in 1901 at the Pan-American exhibition in Buffalo, New York and died eight days later. McKinley was president during the Spanish-American War, which resulted in the U.S. gaining control of Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Hawaii.

  • First Lady: Ida McKinley

    - Years active: 1897–1901

    First Lady Ida McKinley’s portrait shows her at her favorite spot on the White House grounds, the Conservatory. The privacy allowed McKinley, who suffered from epilepsy, to escape the public eye. She is responsible for introducing music and entertainment after formal White House dinners, and was instrumental in the advancement of the Salvation Army in the United States.

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  • President: Theodore Roosevelt

    - Years active: 1901–1909

    The portrait session for Theodore Roosevelt wasn’t an easy one, with the president and artist John Singer Sargent butting heads repeatedly in 1903. Roosevelt had already destroyed his first portrait by Theobald Chartran, claiming the artist made him look like a “mewing cat.” After heated exchanges, Sargent depicted Roosevelt as angry to help animate the portrait.

  • First Lady: Edith Roosevelt

    - Years active: 1901–1909

    Unlike her husband, First Lady Edith Roosevelt kept her portrait by artist Theobald Chartran in 1902. Captured in full formal wear, complete with a hat and cane in the garden, Roosevelt was responsible for major construction at the White House. In adapting the residence to suit her large family, her renovations resulted in the creation of the West Wing, and her husband coining the term “White House.”

  • President: William Howard Taft

    - Years active: 1909–1913

    Anders Leonard Zorn captured the 27th president’s portrait in 1912 in the White House’s Blue Room. Frank Graham Cootes recreated the work in 1936 using oil on a 50 x 30-inch canvas, six years after Taft’s death and 23 years following his presidency. A lawyer by trade, Taft would serve as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1921 until shortly before his death in March 1930.

  • First Lady: Helen Taft

    - Years active: 1909–1913

    Helen Herron Taft was painted in 1910 by Karl B.A. Kronstad, despite the first lady suffering a severe stroke just two months after her husband’s inauguration in 1909. Styled in a flowing gown while seated on a bench on the White House grounds, Taft oversaw the planting of the famous cherry blossoms in 1912.

  • President: Woodrow Wilson

    - Years active: 1913–1921

    American artist Franklin Graham Cootes captured President Woodrow Wilson using oil on a 50 x 40-inch canvas in 1936. Cootes was known mostly for his career as an illustrator, with his work frequently appearing in The Saturday Evening Post, Vogue, and Ladies’ Home Journal. Cootes shows Wilson sitting in a wooden chair holding a book, a nod to the president’s love of reading.

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