Did Obama like his presidential portrait? Probably more than LBJ liked his...

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Did Obama like his presidential portrait? Probably more than LBJ liked his...

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LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okam

When former President Barack Obama took the stage Monday after the reveal of his official presidential portrait he said, “How about that? That’s pretty sharp,” CNN reports

It seemed he was pleased with artist Kehinde Wiley’s flourishing depiction of him. 

But not every presidential portrait has been a ringing success with its subject.

As reported by KUT’s Andrew Weber, former President Lyndon B. Johnson called artist Peter Hurd’s painting, what was intended to be his official portrait, the “ugliest thing I ever saw.” 

After Johnson refused to hang the painting in the White House, according to KUT, Hurd put it on display in Texas. Today the portrait hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. 

Hurd’s painting, however, was not Johnson’s first attempt at a presidential portrait. Johnson was painted by Norman Rockwell in 1964 and was reportedly “fiercely uncooperative.” Although he touted the Rockwell painting when Hurd confronted him over his refusal to accept his portrait in 1965, Johnson later gave it away. 

It wasn’t until 1968, closer to the end of his term, that Johnson sat for his final portrait, KUT reports. When presented with artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff’s depiction Johnson said, “It’s excellent. I like it very much.”

Read the full KUT story here

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