54 x 39 1/2 in. (137.2 x 100.3 cm)
Framed: 62 x 47 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (157.5 x 120.7 x 6.4 cm)
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
Earlier in his career, artist Howard Chandler Christy was best known for his illustration, particularly the fashionable, idealized “Christy Girl” of the 1910s. Later in his career, he turned increasingly to painting, and met with great success in pursuing commissions from the Capitol, including the 1937 portrait of Speaker William Bankhead. Despite the more sober subject, Christy’s work retains a painterly softness, giving Bankhead a glowing rosy complexion and softening his craggy features. Like Christy’s portrait of Speaker Henry Rainey, this work has a simple setting and a dark ground, emphasizing the illumination of the subject.