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William J. Clinton

Bill Clinton

William J. Clinton (born 1946)

The first baby-boomer president, Bill Clinton came to national attention when, at age thirty-two, he claimed the Arkansas governorship. In this position, he emerged as one of the leading reform governors of the Democratic Party. As president, his administration played a crucial part in curbing the massive federal spending deficits that had soared in the 1980s, even achieving, for the first time since the 1960s, a surplus in revenues. Clinton established new organizations for free trade, including NAFTA, which eliminated tariffs and trade barriers between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. His other accomplishments included welfare reform and a successful U.S.-led NATO intervention in the Balkans. Proposals such as universal health care, however, failed, and Clinton’s administration was plagued by the consequences of his sexual relationship with a White House intern. His denial of this relationship, while under oath, led to his impeachment, but he was not convicted in the Senate trial. Despite the scandal, Clinton was successful in refashioning the Democratic Party, making it more centrist and thus better equipped to compete with Republicans on issues of foreign policy and the economy.

Chuck Close begins all of his paintings by taking a photograph of his subject, in this case an image made during a photo session in August 2005 for a New York magazine cover. He then creates grids on both the canvas and the photograph to replicate the information contained in the photograph with a series of abstract modules.

Artist: Chuck Close (born 1940)
Oil on canvas, 2006

Lent by Ian and Annette Cumming