Remembering Fred W. Smith

Photograph of a man standing in front of a portrait of George Washington
Photo by Juan Carlos Briceno, 2007. 

It is with deep sadness that the National Portrait Gallery learned of the passing of Fred W. Smith philanthropist, media executive and visionary Chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation on April 29, 2018.

It was thanks to a public appeal through the Wall Street Journal and on The Today Show by then director Marc Pachter in 2001, seen by Fred W. Smith, that the iconic portrait of George Washington, known as the Lansdowne Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, was acquired for the nation. Remarking on the “incredible set of circumstances” at the time, Steven Anderson, the President of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation noted: “In addition to saving the painting, it was also the vision of our chairman Fred W. Smith, to make the painting available to school children across the country to view.”  The Lansdowne was taken on a multi-state tour while the historic building that is home to both the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, was closed for renovation. A further gift to support the renovation project resulted in the endowment of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, encompassing the two museums and their programs.

Thanks to the support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, and its 25-year chairman Fred W. Smith in particular, over 1.5 million people visit the museums each year and celebrate George Washington’s role in establishing the American presidency and the future direction of the United States.