Wednesday, May 13, 2015

An Unusual Presidential Portrait

I just returned from a trip to Texas and other states along the Gulf of Mexico. My wife enjoys visiting museums associated with presidential libraries, so we stopped by the George W. Bush library in Dallas and the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin (skipped the George H.W. Bush library in College Station due to constraints).

I'm not as big a fan of such places as she is, though I found the Franklin D. Roosevelt library (when I visited in 1971) and the Ronald Reagan library interesting. One item that struck me at Lyndon B. Johnson's library was a portrait by Ft. Worth artist Wayne Ingram. It was painted in 1968, LBJ's last full year in office, but was not the "official" portrait of the man. Because it was unofficial, its style was freer like some society works done by the painter (about whom I found next to nothing on one of my typically brief Google searches).

The multiple-views approach Ingram used can be a bit contrived, but is a huge improvement over the Cubist conceit that Picasso and the rest were providing simultaneous multiple views in a single depiction. Ingram includes two ghosted portraits of LBJ that do not detract from the primary portrait. His painting style is a skilled blend of naturalism and abstraction that also borders on being contrived. Nevertheless, the painting is striking.


The portrait in its setting.

A detail view. Click on the images to enlarge.


P.D. said...

Thanks for posting this. My grandmother did a portrait of Wayne Ingram which I have hanging in my office. There's no information on the picture itself, so I googled Ingram. This post is almost the only thing on the internet about him, and it at least confirms my recollection -- along with nice, clear photos of the LBJ portrait.

Unknown said...

Wayne was a good friend and tennis partner of my aunt and her husband. He and Ralph met in the military and remained friends. They all lived in Ft. Worth for years and my aunt still resides there. He painted a portrait of them with 5 vignettes and one included their little dog Andy. It's huge and covers almost an entire wall in her dining room. I think she said they paid him $25,000 to do it. That was MANY years ago.