Section One

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January 6, 1967: “That’s A Little Better, But Couldn’t You Do It In Luminous Paint?”
Washington Post

The artist represented in this cartoon is Peter Hurd, who had been commissioned to paint President Johnson’s official White House portrait. Hurd had great difficulty in getting a sitting from LBJ, working from photographs and at one point with one of Johnson’s Texas neighbors who had “a big build.”

When Johnson finally saw the portrait, he declared it to be “the ugliest thing I ever saw.” Lady Bird Johnson, who had recommended Hurd, persuaded the artist to try again. However, when he was only given the standard government photograph of the president to work with—the one displayed in post offices—and was told to make the U.S. Capitol in the background smaller and LBJ bigger, he declined. The portrait finally went to the National Portrait Gallery and is on display in the "America's Presidents" exhibition.