Presidential Portrait Paintings by Artist Stephen Kline
Unlike presidential portraits familiar to museum goers, schoolchildren, and employees in the halls of government, Kline's paintings reflect his idiosyncratic impression of a particular characteristic of our former leaders. For example, Mr. Kline's portrait of Richard Nixon is a rare, somewhat sympathetic portrait as it captures Nixon as a young boy with his treasured violin. Kline's rendering of Millard Fillmore is inspired by the 13th President's first and beloved wife, Abigail, who started the first White House Library. By painting Abigail holding the President's portrait, the Fillmore painting is, in fact, a portrait of a portrait. President Ulysses S. Grant's sorrow and weight of circumstance is visible in his demeanor and expression. The rain falls as Grant overlooks his army's tents and mourns the losses all have suffered. Also setting Kline's portraits apart are the subtly written facets of the Presidents' lives in several of his paintings - as the pattern of a lapel, the side of a tent, or the lace on a dress.
Along with multiple exhibits in New York City and throughout Florida and New Jersey, Kline has been featured in places as diverse as the Joslyn Art Museum in the Heartlands and Moscow, Russia, where his paintings were selected for an international art exchange program.