Skip to main content

Will Rogers

Will Rogers
Usage Conditions Apply
Charles Banks Wilson, 1918 - 2013
Will Rogers, 4 Nov 1879 - 15 Aug 1935
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 61 x 45.7cm (24 x 18")
Frame: 83.8 x 69.2 x 5.1cm (33 x 27 1/4 x 2")
Will Rogers: Male
Will Rogers: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Stage actor
Will Rogers: Society and Social Change\Philanthropist
Will Rogers: Journalism and Media\Journalist\Columnist
Will Rogers: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie actor
Will Rogers: Performing Arts\Performer\Comedian
Will Rogers: Natural Resource Occupations\Agriculturist\Cowboy
Will Rogers: Journalism and Media\Journalist\Humorist
Will Rogers: Performing Arts\Performer\Showman
Will Rogers: Journalism and Media\Broadcast journalist\Commentator
Will Rogers: Politics and Government\Public official\Mayor\Beverly Hills, CA
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Charles Banks Wilson
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born near Oologah, Oklahoma
Will Rogers was the child of Cherokee parents; his father was prominent in Oklahoma politics. Rogers, however, lived the life of a cowboy before discovering his gifts as a humorist, actor, and commentator on social mores and politics. Rogers’s biographer has noted that of all the myths surrounding the humorist’s phenomenal success, none conflicted with reality more than the myth of his ignorance. Rogers used his wit and intellect to entertain and to cultivate the persona of a naive cowboy who commented on and often “roasted” pretentious, self-styled sophisticates. Rogers was killed in a plane crash on August 15, 1935, at the peak of his fame as a radio and movie star and newspaper columnist.
Few portraitists captured Rogers from life. One of those was Charles Banks Wilson, who at age fifteen sketched Rogers backstage after a performance in Miami, Oklahoma. He created this painting from those sketches.
The artist; gift to NPG 2010
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Currently not on view