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Trump’s Debut in National Portrait Gallery Presidential Exhibit


  • Donald Trump has joined his fellow presidents in the National Portrait Gallery’s presidential exhibit.
  • The Smithsonian museum is set to reopen next month after temporarily closing in November.
  • The Trump photo currently on display is a stand-in until his official portrait is completed. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump has officially joined his 44 presidential compatriots in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

The museum in Washington, DC, has been closed since November 2020 but is set to reopen its doors on May 14, giving visitors their first chance to see the newest addition to the popular presidential exhibit.

The 2017 photo taken by photographer Pari Dukovic for Time magazine depicts Trump sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. It will be on display as part of the “America’s Presidents” exhibition. 

The photograph will remain in the gallery while the official Trump portrait is being finished, according to The Washington Post, which reported the museum has not shared any details about that commission, nor about the portrait in the works for former first lady Melania Trump. 

The museum’s COVID-19 closure delayed the traditional timeline of the post-presidential transition addition to the exhibit.

Dukovic’s photo of Trump is replacing former President Barack Obama’s portrait, painted by Kehinde Wiley, which is set for a year-long, multi-city tour with Amy Sherald’s painting of former first lady Michelle Obama beginning in June, The Post reported. 

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Artwork of former President Barack Obama by Shepard Fairey on display in the Americas Presidents at the National Portrait Gallery

Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Trump’s presidential photo joins four pre-presidency portraits of the businessman included in the Gallery’s permanent collection, Leslie Ureña, curator of photographs, told the outlet. 

“I like the composition of the photograph,” Ureña told The Post about Dukovic’s photo. “It is an angle we don’t often see. You get a little bit of the other side and what’s behind the desk.”

Dukovic took the photo of Trump one day before the former president announced his official bid for reelection, according to a description by the gallery.

Each portrait in the exhibit is accompanied by a brief biography of the former president, detailing his time in office. Trump’s wall text notes the record low unemployment seen during his tenure, his notable restrictions on immigration, and his appointment of a record number of federal judges.

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The description next to a photograph of former President Donald J. Trump by Pari Dukovic

Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The summation also touches on Trump’s two impeachments and subsequent acquittals, the coronavirus pandemic, his refusal to concede to President Joe Biden after the November 2020 election, and the resulting Capitol attack on January 6. 

Dorothy Moss, the gallery’s curator of painting and sculpture, told The Post that the presidential reflections are written by the museum’s historians and curators.

“We’re looking at the American presidency in its entirety. We do not include critical comments, but we’re even in our assessments,” Moss told the outlet. “It’s a process of collaboration. A lot of people review it. There’s a lot of discussion.”

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