background High High Command center panel High Command, right panel

At the time of his death in July 1949 Augustus Vincent Tack had been working for several years upon a large triptych of President Truman and his military advisors at the end of World War II. Tack, an experienced mural and abstract painter, was encouraged by his patron, Duncan Phillips, founder of the Phillips Collection in Washington, and by David E. Finley, director of the National Gallery of Art. It was their hope that Congress would purchase these paintings for the future National Portrait Gallery. Tack had sittings with most of the subjects, including President Truman and General George Marshall, the two most central figures. Tack, however, died before completing the grand work. Phillips acquired the three canvases and his estate donated the largely finished central panel to the new National Portrait Gallery in 1968. The Gallery has subsequently acquired the two smaller side panels.

"The High Command"
Augustus Vincent Tack (1870-1949)
Oil on canvas,
central panel, 242.6 x 246.4 cm. (95 1/2 x 97 in.):
side panels, 243.8 x 182.9 cm (96 x 72 in) each
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Partial gift of the Phillips Collection

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