The state unveiled the official portrait of former Governor Lincoln Chafee Thursday. The austere painting is unlike many of the previous portraits.
Take a walk through the statehouse and you’ll see dozens of portraits of Rhode Island governors standing in front of desks, holding books, sitting in regal looking chairs.
Not Lincoln Chafee.
In his portrait he stands in dark natural setting, reeds and leaves rustle around him. He’s wearing a dark overcoat and looks off in the distance. Artist Julie Gearan said Chafee asked for something “different.” “I would not have taken this commission if I didn’t hear, before he chose me, that he was looking for something different. And I knew that he had gone to see my work, and knew what I was about, and he was willing to go for that,” said Gearan.
She added, “We should be giving the state art. It shouldn’t just be a likeness of the governor, because that can be done now through some wonderful digital photography.”
Gearan said the roughly six foot-by-four foot painting took nine months to complete. She received a $15,000 commission for the painting. Chafee was not present at the unveiling, but told Rhode Island Public Radio he was pleased with the portrait.
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