Skip to main content
Harry S Truman
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
America's Presidents (Reinstallation September 2017)
On View
NPG, West Gallery 210
Date
1945
Object number
NPG.2014.14
Exhibition Label
Thirty-third president, 1945–1953
Upon learning of Franklin Roosevelt’s death on April 12, 1945, Harry Truman said he felt as if “the moon, and the stars and all the planets” had fallen on him. That summer, he faced the daunting task of ending the war in the Pacific and negotiating with an increasingly belligerent Soviet Union. Facing Soviet expansion, he endorsed the Marshall Plan, the strategy that helped rebuild war-torn Europe.
After winning the election of 1948, Truman’s presidency began to founder as he was faced withcrises, including the Korean War. By the time he left office, his reputation had sunk to a near record low. Yet over time, Truman has been better appreciated for both his pragmatic flexibility and his honesty. He is also known for his efforts to end racial discrimination in the U.S. military.
Truman granted Jay Wesley Jacobs five portrait sittings in the White House in 1945. The artist created two portraits. This one, commissioned by Assistant Treasury Secretary Lawrence Wood Robert Jr., was intended for the U.S. Senate but ultimately remained in the Robert family.
33o presidente, 1945–1953
Cuando supo de la muerte de Franklin Roosevelt el 12 de abril de 1945, Harry Truman dijo que sentía como si se hubieran derrumbado sobre él “la luna, las estrellas y todos los planetas”. Ese verano afrontó la abrumadora tarea de acabar la guerra en el Pacífico y negociar con una Unión Soviética cada vez más belicosa. Para contrarrestar la expansión soviética, endosó el Plan Marshall, estrategia que ayudó a reconstruir una Europa asolada por la guerra. Luego de ganar las elecciones de 1948, Truman se vio en dificultades por causa de varias crisis, entre ellas la Guerra de Corea. Al final de su presidencia, su reputación había bajado a un nivel casi inédito. Sin embargo, con el tiempo, Truman ha recibido mayor reconocimiento tanto por su pragmática flexibilidad como por su honestidad. También se le distingue por sus esfuerzos para eliminar la discriminación racial en las fuerzas armadas de Estados Unidos.
En 1945, Truman posó cinco veces para Jay Wesley Jacobs en la Casa Blanca. El artista creó dos retratos. Este, encargado por Lawrence Wood Robert Jr., secretario asistente del Tesoro, iba a instalarse en el Senado, pero terminó en posesión de la familia Robert.
Provenance
The artist; Lawrence Wood Robert, Jr.; his daughter, A. Birney Robert
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; partial gift of the William T. Kemper Foundation
Artist
Jay Wesley Jacobs, 1898 - 1968
Sitter
Harry S Truman, 8 May 1884 - 26 Dec 1972
Place
United States\District of Columbia\Washington
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 102.1 × 81.6cm (40 3/16 × 32 1/8")
Frame: 120.3 × 100 × 2.2cm (47 3/8 × 39 3/8 × 7/8")
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Type
Painting