Click on photos to enlarge.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Donald Trump Portraits

Speed Painting Portrait of Trump, Michael Israel
Several months ago I finished writing the last of a series of more than forty articles on presidential portraits. I may seem to be "jumping the gun" here but inasmuch as one particular portrait of President-elect Donald J. Trump (above) has been in the news during the campaign, I thought it appropriate to not only take a look at it, but all the others painted of the man during the past seventy years. As might be expected I got quite an eyeful. Many of them I could in no way present here. I may, in fact, be stretching the bounds of good taste in one or two cases even though Mr. Trump is not yet president. The nearly nude Trump (below), by Illma Gore, falls into that category, though I've deliberately covered the most offensive part. Incidentally, the young artist was attacked on the street by a male Trump support as the result of her art. That's not the first such an incident in the history of art and likely won't be the last. Even in this era of technology driven art and social media, painting has power.
Numerous, highly realistic, life-size, nude sculptures of both
candidates have appeared on the streets of major cities.
The speed painting of Trump at the top took artist, Michael Israel, at least five minutes to make. Trump's wife, Melania, won the bid for the portrait. Reportedly, the charity auctioneer talked her into doubling her bid from $10,000 to $20,000 to contribute to the Home Safe charity that helps victims of domestic violence. The artist commented that he believes the painting went to one of Trump’s golf courses. A former manager for Israel said Melania Trump requested the painting be shipped to a golf club in upstate New York.

The painting above has been enlarged to show detail.
Donald Trump, William Quigley
Painted portraits of Donald Trump are not at all rare. The one above is by Giovanni DeCunto of the Boston area; while the one at left is by New York artist, William Quigley. The Quigley portrait is more than nine feet tall. Trump purchased it through a friend for nearly $100,000. Both paintings brought well into five figures when sold for charity. Presumably their value may have skyrocketed a few nights ago. A few notches below the "charity market" of socially acceptable painted portrait is what I call the "humor market" in which painters take aim at political and entertainment celebrities with the sharper edge of their brushes. The larger than life the public figure happens to be, the likely this becomes. And Donald J. Trump is about as "large than life" as they come. The central portrait (below) is based upon a portrait of a Russian General, by George Dawes. A company by the name of Replace Face, simply substitutes heads,
Any biting satire in these works is not accidental.
Donald Trump in
his college days.
The earliest known portrait of Donald Trump (left) appears to date from his college days in the late 1960s. The artist is unknown, and were he not camping out on the White House lawn these days, it's likely the face would be equally unknown. 
What a difference fifty
years makes.

Now that Donald Trump has successfully elbowed his way to the front of a very long line to become President of the United States he's also likely to be a marked man insofar as protest painting is allowed to be seen and heard. He's going to need a much thicker skin than he's worn during the past year or more of this interminable election season. He's going to need to find the self-discipline to ignore (or maybe learn from) works such as that of Portland artist, Sarah Levy (below), who has rendered her personal distaste for the new president-elect by painting his portrait with her own menstrual blood.

Eyebrow-raising artwork--Portland, Oregon, artist Sarah Levy
portrait of Donald Trump rendered in her own menstrual blood.
Though it may seem to be in poor taste to
put this portrait so close to the one just above,
you know you've hit the top when the famed
pizza chef Domenico Crolla does your face.


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