Former President Donald Trump’s Save America PAC donated $650,000 to the Smithsonian Institution to fund portraits of himself and former First Lady Melania Trump financial documents revealed.
A filing with the Federal Election Commission on Saturday last week, former president Donald Trump’s Save America PAC paid the money to the museum on July 14.
The $650,000 donation from Trump’s Save America PAC last month was unprecedented. No other political action committee had previously funded a presidential portrait, according to chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian Institution Linda St. Thomas. Ms Linda stated that an unnamed donor contributed an additional $100,000 to support the portraits.
According to Thomas, the museum’s National Portrait Gallery only solicits private donations to pay for all of the presidents’ portraits.” Save America’s donation is “accompanied by one additional private donation.
“All portraits of presidents commissioned by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery are paid for with private funds raised by the museum. The Save America donation of $650,000 is accompanied by one additional private donation. It is specifically for the portraits of former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump.”
Chief spokesperson Thomas revealed that two artists have been commissioned, one for each portrait. The artists’ names will be released closer to the reveal of the paintings. “The creation of the portraits is underway. The timing of the artworks’ reveal is not determined yet,” she added.
The donations for Donald Trump’s Smithsonian portrait “support the artists’ fees, shipping, framing, installation, and events”
The $650,000 donation by the former president’s PAC will, “support the artists’ fees, shipping, framing, installation, and events,” according to chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian Ms Linda.
Sources close to former president Trump claim that the upcoming portrait will have specific requirements. The sources cited the former president’s obsession with technical details. According to a former Trump White House aide, one of Mr. Trump’s possible obsessions will be “color saturation” and “lighting.”
Besides the White House, the National Portrait Gallery at Smithsonian is the only place you can see all the presidents’ portraits. It is one of the collection’s distinguishing features.
In 1962, the institution began receiving official commissioned portraits of the sitting president. These official portraits are significant for both the museum and the White House. The museum consults the with White House staff to provide guidance on potential artists and the portrait-taking process. Still, the choice is ultimately up to the president and, now, the first lady, whose portraits the museum has started to collect.
Since George H.W. Bush’s portrait, the Smithsonian institution has been raising funds for commissions of outgoing presidential portraits. According to St. Thomas, all presidential portraits in the National Portrait Gallery were purchased with private funds.
The portraits of the Obamas drew attention from both the political and art worlds. The first Black president and first lady were the first White House occupants to commission portraits of themselves by Black painters for the National Portrait Gallery series, and they used the opportunity to make a larger point about the country’s state.
The paintings received widespread acclaim, along with a significant amount of controversy.