Glendening gets casual in official portrait
Governor pictured outdoors and out of suit and tie
By John Woestendiek
January 3, 2003
The official portrait of outgoing Gov. Parris N. Glendening - standing
in a sports shirt and jacket at an Eastern Shore wildlife preserve - will
be unveiled next week in a ceremony at the
Maryland State House.
The $35,000 portrait, painted by well-known New York portrait artist
John Howard Sanden and paid for by private donations, will hang in the
Governor's Reception Room along with those
of 11 of the state's previous governors.
After the ceremony, scheduled for noon Thursday, the painting becomes property of the State Archives.
Glendening began making arrangements for his portrait less than midway
through his first term, holding a May 1996 lunch at the mansion to begin
raising funds - through the Government
House Foundation - for his portrait and one of his wife at the time, Frances Glendening.
William Meyers, president of the foundation, which raised money for
the portraits and for non-state-funded improvements to the governor's mansion,
said the contract for the governor's
portrait was $35,000.
Before yesterday, he said, the amount had been kept secret "in the unlikely event the governor did not approve of the portrait."
Part of the money raised by the foundation will also pay for a portrait
of Frances Glendening, he said. As for a portrait of the governor's current
wife, Meyers said, "There is no plan for
The governor married Jennifer Crawford last year after divorcing Frances
Glendening, who, while first lady, worked to promote the arts and started
the state's collection of portraits of
Maryland's first ladies. Funds left in the Government House Foundation at the end of Glendening's term will, as required, be used for charitable purposes, Meyers said.
With the hanging of Glendening's portrait in the reception room, one
former governor - Emerson C. Harrington (1916-1920) - will have to depart.
The walls are big enough to hold only the
past 12 governors.
Of those, the three-quarter-length portrait of Glendening will be the
only one depicting a governor outdoors. Sanden said the governor suggested
using the wildlife preserve as the
backdrop, having just been there to make a speech.
"You don't always have to be standing in front of a flag or a fireplace or a Grecian column," Sanden said.
Probably more rare than its outdoor setting, Sanden said, is that, in the portrait, Glendening is wearing neither suit nor tie.
"That's definitely not the norm," said Sanden, whose clients include
hundreds of prominent political, religious and corporate leaders. "There
are an awful lot of white shirts and business
Glendening did not pose at the preserve, Sanden said, but he provided photographs taken of him there. Sanden later visited the site.
Glendening, after choosing Sanden to do the portrait, attended four
sittings, each about 90 minutes - two in the governor's mansion and two
in Sanden's New York City studio, Sanden
He described Glendening as "a very enjoyable and interesting man" who sat patiently during the sessions. "He was great."
Sanden paints about 20 portraits a year, and Glendening was his third governor. Last year, he painted outgoing North Carolina Gov. James B. Hunt Jr.
Sanden, who will attend Thursday's unveiling, said Glendening seemed pleased with the work.
"In my studio, he was complimentary. We corroborated on it very closely. With portraits you have to. ... If your client's not happy you've failed, you've just simply failed."
Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun