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Historical Highlights

The Portrait of House Appropriations Chairman John Taber

July 28, 1971
The Portrait of House Appropriations Chairman John Taber Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
A 20-term Member, John Taber of New York chaired the Appropriations Committee in the 80th (1947–1949) and 83rd (1953–1955) Congresses.
On this date, the House unveiled a portrait of Representative John Taber of New York, who chaired the House Committee on Appropriations in the 80th (1947–1949) and 83rd (1953–1955) Congresses. The unveiling of Taber’s portrait took place in conjunction with the unveiling of a portrait of longtime Appropriations Chairman Clarence Cannon and was marked by great pomp and ceremony in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. President Richard M. Nixon honored both Taber and Cannon, who died in 1965 and 1964, respectively, with his presence at the unveiling. Taber was indeed considered a watchdog over spending. His 40 years in the House were marked by stubborn opposition to the New Deal and later economic programs. Known as John “Cash-and-Carry” Taber, he approached spending requests with a “meat axe” rather than a “surgeon’s knife.” This portrait was painted in 1960 by Dutch artist Frank deBruin Valerius and donated by Taber’s family to the House of Representatives. Historically, artists from around the world came to Washington, D.C., to paint the statesmen of the day. In Taber’s case, however, it is likely that his upstate New York origins led him to Valerius, who immigrated to Toronto, just across Lake Ontario from Taber’s congressional district. For more than a century, the House of Representatives has collected portraits of the men and women who lead its committees. These images, a number of them produced by major American artists, provide a vital visual record of House history.

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