When To Expect Trump's Presidential Portrait

by Kiersten Hickman

There's no shortage of photos of the President-elect floating around the internet, but if you're wondering when Donald Trump will sit for his official presidential portrait, you might have some time to wait — details are still out on when we can expect that to happen once Trump takes office. But, if you're looking for a sneak peek of what to expect, you might be in luck: C-SPAN released its formal portrait of Donald Trump on Dec. 28, 2016.

According to C-SPAN, the portrait was painted by Chas Fagan, a North Carolina-based painter and sculptor who is well known for painting 44 presidential portraits. His paintings are a part of a C-SPAN exhibit titled American Presidents Life Portraits; it's an exhibit that has been following the campaign trail for the past five presidential elections. Donald Trump’s portrait will be on display for the first time with this exhibit on Feb. 24 at the William McKinley Presidential Library in Canton, Ohio.

You may be surprised to find out that Fagan’s line of portraits is the only complete oil painting collection of U.S. presidents produced by one artist. His work is well known around different national landmarks — one of his most famous sculptures is the Ronald Reagan statue at the Reagan National Airport. However, out of all of the art he has produced to monument influential presidents, he found creating Donald Trump’s portrait, well, kind of difficult.

"One of the more challenging aspects of this specific portrait was President-Elect Trump’s eyes,” Fagan told C-SPAN. “In most photos, his eyes are in shadow and difficult to see, in part due to his distinctive brow line. But eyes are such a recognizable feature, and necessary to give a portrait warmth and personality, so I worked to give them a bit more prominence. I think the result is that we have a softer look into his face than we often get from public media photography."

C-SPAN also pointed out that Trump did not actually sit for the portrait. In fact, Fagan had a difficult time finding a good shot of Trump to work off of in the first place.

“You'd imagine that there should be countless images out there, but the reality is that public media photographs of candidates show frozen action moments,” Fagan told C-SPAN. “Whereas traditional portraits attempt to capture contemplative, relaxed moments. There are innumerable images of candidates seemingly contorted in expression or gesture. In an online advertisement for an upcoming interview with Mr. Trump I came across a small still image from video. It did not have much detail, but it happened to reveal a more relaxed expression. And that was the foundation for the painting.”

Even though this is the first portrait of the President-elect, the official sit-down time for his presidential portrait after the inaugural celebrations is still unknown. It's probably safe to assume, though, that his official White House oil painting won't be released for a very long time. President Obama's portrait still has yet to come to the surface; he was actually in office for four years when he revealed the official oil portrait of former President George W. Bush. So, it certainly will be a while until we see the official oil painting of Donald J. Trump.