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Henry Kissinger

Artist
Philip Pearlstein, born 24 May 1924
Sitter
Henry Alfred Kissinger, born 27 May 1923
Date
1979
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 91.4 x 66 x 5.1cm (36 x 26 x 2")
Frame: 95.9 x 70.5 x 5.1cm (37 3/4 x 27 3/4 x 2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Philip Pearlstein
Object number
NPG.82.TC120
Exhibition Label
Born Fürth, Germany
Commissioned by Time magazine, Philip Pearlstein's portrait of Henry Kissinger appeared on the magazine's cover in conjunction with the release of the first volume of Kissinger's memoirs, The White House Years, in October 1979. In his book, Kissinger reflected on his career as assistant for national security affairs and secretary of state. Excerpts published in Time described his complicated relationship with President Richard Nixon, as well as the challenges of Cold War diplomacy.
Picturing Kissinger with a look of intense concentration, Pearlstein's portrait conveys his subject's seriousness of purpose and intellectual intensity, the same qualities reflected in his memoirs. The pose was no mere conceit. Unable to sit still for extended periods of time, Kissinger agreed to read while Pearlstein painted, thus enabling the artist to capture the very image of the statesman at work.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection