The Image That Inspired Millions of Copies: Original Obama “Hope” Portrait Donated to Washington’s National Portrait Gallery
By Emily Waldorf
Just in time for President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20th, the National Portrait Gallery, a division of Washington’s Smithsonian Institution, plans to hang a very special addition to their permanent collection.
Los Angeles-based street-artist Shepard Fairey is the man behind the iconic red, white and blue collage of Mr. Obama with the words “HOPE” depicted in bold caps. The “HOPE” image hit a nerve with the American people and there was no escaping it during the campaign; indeed, it became the central image of Mr. Obama’s campaign, displayed on front lawns, bumpers stickers, tee-shirts and college dorm rooms nationwide. Since the image is now part of the important National Collection, it is not only wildly famous and inspiring but has become an official state record, capturing the unique zeitgeist that swept the 2008 election.
The portrait was donated by Washington based Heather and Tony Podesta, lobbyists and art collectors. It will be on display on the first floor of the National Portrait Gallery.
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Tags: Barack Obama, Hope, Hope portrait, inauguration, National Portrait Gallery, Podesta, President-elect, Shepard Fairey, Smithsonian