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William J. Clinton

Bill Clinton

William J. Clinton (born 1946)

Elected governor of Arkansas at age thirty-two, Democrat Bill Clinton first came to national attention as the leading reformer of an impoverished Southern state. Clinton’s presidential administration curbed the federal spending deficits of the 1980s, eventually achieving a surplus in revenues; negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated most tariffs and trade barriers between Canada, the United States, and Mexico; enacted welfare reform; and spearheaded a successful U.S.-led NATO intervention in the Balkan Wars. Proposals such as universal health care, however, failed. Clinton’s second term was marked by several scandals, including lying while under oath about a sexual relationship he had with a White House intern. For this, he was impeached by the House of Representatives but was not convicted in the Senate trial.

Chuck Close based this portrait on a photograph he took for the cover of New York magazine. Using a grid system, Close often translates the visual information found in photographs into abstracted

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

Lent by Ian and Annette Cumming