Fact Sheet: National Portrait Gallery

Media only:  Concetta Duncan  (202) 633-9989, duncanc@si.edu 
                      Gabrielle Obusek (202) 633-8299, obusekge@si.edu

Director: Kim Sajet
Total Full-time Employees: 80
Annual Budget (federal and trust) FY 2022: $21 million
Approximate Number of Artwork Objects: 26,079
In-Person Visitors (2022): 953,653*
Social Media Followers: 415,800

*Museum experienced reduced operating hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic


The National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States by presenting portrayals of individuals who have shaped the nation’s history and culture. The museum was established by an Act of Congress in 1962 and opened to the public on Oct. 7, 1968. For more than 50 years, it has upheld its mission to collect and display images of “individuals who have made significant contributions to the history, development and culture of the people of the United States.”

The Portrait Gallery’s collection holds more than 26,000 works, including the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House. The museum is housed in a National Historical Landmark that served as the Old Patent Office in the 19th century. The Portrait Gallery shares its home, known for its Greek revival architecture and elegant Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard designed by Foster+Partners, with the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. A bilingual institution, the National Portrait Gallery is part of the Smithsonian Institution.


The National Portrait Gallery’s collection includes a wide range of paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings and time-based media art. A catalog of the collection is available online. A selection of prominent works include:

  • “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas (1796)

(acquired in 2001; restored and re-presented in September 2017)

  • President Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Gardner (“cracked-plate” portrait), albumen silver print (1865)
  • President John Quincy Adams by Philip Haas (1843 daguerreotype—the earliest known photographic likeness of a U.S. President)
  • President John F. Kennedy by Elaine de Kooning, oil on canvas (1963)
  • President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley, oil on canvas (2018)
  • John Brown by Augustus Washington, daguerreotype (c. 1846–47)
  • Pocahontas by an unidentified artist, after Simon van de Passe, oil on canvas (after 1616)
  • Frederick Douglass by an unidentified photographer, ambrotype (1856)
  • Mary Cassatt by Edgar Degas, oil on canvas (c. 1880–84)
  • Gertrude Stein by Jo Davidson, terra cotta (1922–23)
  • Charlie Chaplin by Edward Steichen, gelatin silver print (1925)
  • Frida Kahlo by Magda Pach, oil on canvas (1933)
  • Ethel Waters by Beauford Delaney, pastel on paper (1940)
  • Beauford Delaney by Georgia O’Keeffe, pastel on paper (1943)
  • John Coltrane by Roy DeCarava, gelatin silver print (1961)
  • Muhammad Ali by Yousuf Karsh, gelatin silver print (1970)
  • “Orange Disaster (Linda Nochlin)” by Deborah Kass, silkscreen and acrylic on canvas (1997)
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver by David Lenz, oil and acrylic on canvas (2009)
  • Fritz Scholder , “Self-portrait with Grey Cat,” oil on canvas, (2003)
  • Hank Aaron by Ross R. Rossin, oil on canvas (2010)
  • Russell Means by Bob Coronado, oil on canvas (2012)
  • Maya Lin 1:5 by Karin Sander, 3D color scan of the living person, polychrome 3D inkjetprint, plaster material, color, pigment ink, scale 1:5 (2014)
  • Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald, oil on linen (2018)
  • “Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine” by Kadir Nelson, oil on linen (2017) (co-acquisition with the National Museum of African American History and Culture)
  • Julie Packard by Hope Gangloff, acrylic on canvas (2019)
  • Ruben Salazar by Rupert García, acrylic on canvas (1970)
  • “Congressman John Lewis” by Michael Shane Neil, oil on linen (2020)
  • “Rat Year 2020 I: Counting Down” and “Rat Year 2020 II: The Last Dandelion” by Hung Liu, oil on canvas and mixed media on wood (2020)
  • Thelma Golden by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, acrylic, transfers and colored pencil on paper (2013)
  • “A Portrait of Dr. Anthony Fauci” by Hugo Crosthwaite, stop-motion drawing animation and 14 drawings (2022)
  • “AVA” (Ava DuVernay) by Kenturah Davis, oil stamp on kozo paper (2022)
  • “Clive Davis, May 23rd” by David Hockney, acrylic on canvas (2022)
  • “José Andrés and the Olla de Barro that Feeds the Worls” by Kadir Nelson, oil on linen (2022)
  • “Serena: by Toyin Ojih Odutola, pastel, charcoal and graphite on paper (2022)
  • :Venus Williams, Double Portrait” by Robert Pruitt, Conté crayon, charcoal, pastel, and coffee wash on paper (2022)

In addition, the Portrait Gallery collection holds:

  • More than 1,700 portraits of U.S. Presidents
  • 5,450 glass-plate negatives from the studios of Mathew Brady
  • Original artwork for over 2,000 Time magazine covers
  • 25 commissioned portraits

Exhibitions and Programs

The National Portrait Gallery has a vigorous schedule of special exhibitions that rotate throughout each year, many of which have toured to museums across the United States. Long-term permanent collection exhibitions include “America’s Presidents,” “Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900,” “Twentieth-Century Americans” and “The Struggle for Justice.” The “One Life” gallery is dedicated to a focused biography of one individual, while the museum’s third-floor mezzanines along the building’s historic Great Hall—at one time the largest room in the United States —contain the exhibitions “Bravo!” and “Champions,” which are devoted to those in the performing arts and sports, respectively. Exhibition wall text is presented in English and Spanish.

In 2006, the Portrait Gallery launched its “Portraiture Now” series, which is dedicated to contemporary artists, and its triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, designed to encourage the next generation of artists working in portraiture. In 2015, the museum established its “IDENTIFY” series for performance art, and in 2016, the Portrait Gallery became the first Smithsonian museum to host a choreographer-in-residence with the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. The museum welcomed sketch artist Brad Grant as its first Instagram-artist-in-residence in 2020. Since 2015, the museum’s biennial Portrait of a Nation Awards and Gala (originally the American Portrait Gala), celebrate the Portrait Gallery’s work with living sitters and contemporary artists.

The National Portrait Gallery commissions significant new work, including portraits of past presidents and first ladies upon their departure from office, and public art and performances celebrating the genre of portraiture. In 2014, the National Portrait Gallery commissioned Cuban American artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada’s “Out of Many, One,” a temporary installation that stretched across more than six acres of the National Mall.

The National Portrait Gallery offers a variety of programs, including free lectures, educational activities, performances and films. The Portrait Gallery also presents teacher workshops, family days and guided tours—including accessible programs and displays—for thousands of people each year. Virtual programs, exhibitions and research platforms can be enjoyed online, with new content rolling out almost daily. The museum’s “PORTRAITS” podcast series, hosted by director Kim Sajet, further engages the public in the stories of art, history and biography, and is now in its fifth season. PORTAL, the Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Research Center, provides virtual programs and in-person symposiums for scholarly audiences in addition to the museum’s online collection search and publications.


National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the nation’s story.                    

The National Portrait Gallery is located at Eighth and G streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at npg.si.edu and on Facebook, Instagram, X and YouTube.  

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