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Admiral Chester Nimitz

Admiral Chester Nimitz
Usage Conditions Apply
Dean Cornwell, 5 Mar 1892 - 3 Dec 1960
Chester William Nimitz, 24 Feb 1885 - 20 Feb 1966
Oil on board
Board: 78.7 x 73.7cm (31 x 29")
Frame: 99.1 x 95.3 x 5.1cm (39 x 37 1/2 x 2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the family of Chester W. Nimitz, Jr.
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Dean Cornwell
Object number
Exhibition Label
In the first months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and American entry into World War II, the Japanese push to dominate the Asian Pacific seemed unstoppable. As commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester Nimitz was charged with halting that drive, and halt it he did. Under his orchestration, American naval forces turned back the Japanese at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, and at the Battle of Midway that June, they dealt a blow from which Japan's navy never recovered. By war's end, Nimitz was one of the most respected leaders of the Allied cause.
It is thought that the backdrop in Nimitz's portrait is the wreckage left by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. The picture thus marked the moment when Nimitz took command of the effort to come back from that devastating disaster.
Sarah Nimitz Smith, and Betsy Van Dorn, Milton, Mass., granddaughters of sitter; gift 2002 to NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
20th Century Americans: 1930-1960
On View
NPG, South Gallery 321