Artist Sought to Paint Indiana Governor’s Official Portrait

Isaac Pusey Gray (1825-1895)
Governor of Indiana November 20, 1880-January 10, 1881
January 12, 1885-January 14, 1889

Artist: Theodore Clement Steele, American, 1847-1926
oil on canvas, 40 1/8 x 32 1/8 (101.9 x 81.6)
Signed and dated u.r.: T. C. Steele/1888

Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites accepting applications online through Oct. 23.

Staff report

Indianapolis, Indiana – September 26, 2023

The tradition of Hoosier artists creating portraits of Indiana’s governors, spanning over 150 years, is set to continue as the state launches its quest for the next artist to immortalize Governor Eric Holcomb in the historic Indiana Governors’ Portrait Collection.

The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites announced that it is now accepting applications online through October 23, 2023, from artists eager to add their names to the lineage of gubernatorial portrait painters.

The selected artist will produce the 55th portrait for the collection, which is curated by the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

To be eligible, applicants must either be residents or natives of Indiana or graduates of an Indiana institution of higher learning. Strong preference will be accorded to Indiana residents. Aspiring artists are encouraged to visit to submit their applications, comprising the following elements:

  • A comprehensive resume or curriculum vitae detailing prior portrait experience and commissions, a catalog of works in public collections, past exhibitions, and art education background.
  • An artist’s statement that elucidates their approach to portrait painting. While not mandatory, specific concepts pertaining to this commission are welcome.
  • The submission of six to ten digital color samples showcasing their portrait work, including detailed representations, through the application portal.
  • A proposed commission fee, with framing expenses to be excluded from the artist’s fee.
  • Complete contact information, including email and mailing addresses, as well as telephone numbers.
  • Flexibility in the applicant’s schedule, including a willingness to travel. Travel expenses will be reimbursed.

For inquiries regarding the application process, prospective artists may contact Susannah Koerber, Chief Curator and Research Officer at Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, at [email protected] or 317-233-1991.

All submissions will undergo a review by a panel comprising representatives from the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, the Indiana Arts Commission, the Office of the Governor, professional artists, and curators. The panel will base their selection on the following criteria:

  • Artistic excellence.
  • Previous experience in portrait commissions.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully fulfill the commission.

The unveiling of the selected artist is slated for January 31, 2024. Completion of the portrait is anticipated by late summer 2024, with the official portrait unveiling scheduled for the fall of that year.

Funding for the artist’s commission and the framing of Governor Holcomb’s portrait will be sourced from private contributions, following the tradition of previous years. Any surplus funds will be entrusted to the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites for the preservation and exhibition of the Indiana Governors’ Portrait Collection.

The inception of Indiana’s official gubernatorial portrait collection dates back to 1869 when then-Governor Conrad Baker was first depicted on canvas. Since then, every Indiana governor, past and present, has been commemorated through this cherished artistic tradition. Currently, 54 portraits from the collection grace the offices of the statehouse.

The chosen artist for this prestigious commission will join the ranks of celebrated Hoosier painters, including T.C. Steele, Marie Goth, the first woman to paint an Indiana governor’s official portrait, and Mark Dillman, the artist behind the last addition to the collection in 2017, the portrait of former U.S. Vice President and Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

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