spacer Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)
Thirty-second President (1933-1945)

When Franklin Roosevelt took his seat in New York's state legislature in 1911, some observers took a look at his patrician manner and declared him ill-suited to the rough realities of politics. In fact, he thrived quite well on those realities. Some two decades later, he was advancing from the New York governor's chair to the presidency and preparing for one of the most remarkable White House tenures in the country's history.

Taking office against the bleak backdrop of the Great Depression, Roosevelt responded quickly to this disaster with a host of regulatory and welfare measures that redefined the government's role in American life. Among conservatives, the new federal involvement in matters traditionally left to the private sector was a betrayal of America's ideals. But in other quarters, Roosevelt's activism inspired an unwavering popularity that led eventually to his election to an unprecedented four terms.

By the time Roosevelt sat for this portrait in 1945, his presidential concerns had long since shifted to guiding the nation through World War II. This likeness is a study for a larger painting a sketch of which appears at the lower left commemorating Roosevelt meeting with wartime Allied leaders Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at Yalta. The larger work was never completed, artist Douglas Chandor claimed, because Stalin refused to pose for it.



Douglas Chandor (1897-1953)
Oil on canvas, 1945
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
NPG.68.49

Enlarged image





Copyright 2000 Smithsonian Institution