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Knowing the Presidents

Portrait of a Revolutionary general on horseback
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master."
Monochromatic, profile portrait of a man (THomas Jefferson)
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
Bust-length portrait of a man in a black suit with black tie and white hair
"The wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality."
Miniature portrait of a young Abraham Lincoln wearing a dark coat and tie
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
Man in riding clothes sitting astride a horse, facing right.
It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.
knee-length portrait of a man in a suit sitting in a rocking chair,
"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

From our Blog

Old photograph of old man looking at the camera
The National Portrait Gallery has acquired the earliest known photograph of a U.S. President for its permanent collection. Dating from 1843, the photograph of President John...
Image of the Lansdowne portrait being photographed in a studio
The full-length 1796 “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart is a national treasure and is considered Stuart’s American masterpiece.
A group of women standing in a semi-circle and smiling at the camera
Working at the National Portrait Gallery, the only museum with a complete collection of presidential portraits, I am surrounded by people who are passionate and knowledgeable...
Black and white image of a man sitting in a chair with his back to the camera and his face looking left
As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth, it is impossible to imagine Jack Kennedy as an old man. Everything about him was energetic, dynamic, and youthful.
Photograph of a man throwing an apple against a blue sky background
I was assigned to photograph Donald Trump for Fortune magazine in 1989. Fortune was doing a story on billionaires. Obviously, no one knew then what his future held.