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High Noon

Artist
Edward Sorel, born 1929
Sitter
James Earl Carter, Jr., born 1 Oct 1924
Date
1980
Type
Drawing
Medium
Watercolor, ink, graphite pencil and cut paper on paperboard
Dimensions
Sight: 42.5 x 31.8cm (16 3/4 x 12 1/2")
Frame: 74.9 x 59.7 x 5.1cm (29 1/2 x 23 1/2 x 2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Edward Sorel
Object number
NPG.82.TC84
Exhibition Label
This Time cover, depicting Jimmy Carter as a western sheriff about to have a showdown with an unseen outlaw, was a distillation of the hapless situation that Carter confronted in the spring of 1980. Two of the most pressing concerns of the moment were the fifty Americans being held hostage by Muslim fundamentalists in Iran and the Soviet Union's armed interference in Afghanistan. To force the release of the hostages and make the Soviets back off from attempting to bring the Afghans under their influence, Carter wanted to take strong retaliatory measures. But in order to give those measures teeth, he needed the backing of America's allies, and that support was not strong. Thus, Carter may indeed have been feeling like this holstered caricature of himself, marching to meet his foe, while his neighbors, who stand to benefit from his bravery, scurry off in search of refuge.
Time cover, April 28, 1980
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection