Skip to main content

Earl Warren

Emil Jean Kosa, Jr., 1903 - 1968
Earl Warren, 19 Mar 1891 - 9 Jul 1974
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 125.1 x 97.8cm (49 1/4 x 38 1/2")
Frame: 146.1 x 118.1 x 7.6cm (57 1/2 x 46 1/2 x 3")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Los Angeles, California
During a long career as attorney general and governor of California, and then as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Earl Warren profoundly changed his views on race. In the 1920s he was a member of a number of nativist organizations and possessed a particular hostility to Asian Americans. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, he enthusiastically supported the internment of Japanese Americans. Then, as governor (1943–53), he surprised Californians by becoming a progressive Republican. President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Warren as Chief Justice in 1953, expecting a moderate on such issues as race. But in the Court’s historic 1954 decision Brown v. Board of Education, Warren placed himself in the vanguard of those fighting for racial equality. Writing for the Court, he declared, "In the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."
The artist; his estate; The Fuller Foundation, Pasadena, Calif.; sold through (Richard Neville, Huntington Beach, Calif.); purchased 1997 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
The Struggle for Justice
On View
NPG, West Gallery 220
United States\California\Los Angeles\Los Angeles