One of the most striking portraits in the House’s collection is that of Financial Services Committee Chairman Jim Leach. Artist Michael Roberts evokes fellow Iowa artist Grant Wood’s midwestern realism, matte palette, and studied naivete, but there are bigger surprises than the unusual style. The artist has scratched the words “Iowa City,” “working,” and “hands” into the surface. The frame, carved by Connie Roberts, captures elements of Leach’s life: a wrestler, cornstalks, landmark legislation, and even Huck Finn rafting down the Mississippi, which forms the eastern border of Leach’s congressional district.
History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, “James Albert Smith Leach,” https://history.house.gov/Collection/Listing/2002/2002-013-002/ (September 28, 2020)
Office of the Historian
Office of Art and Archives
Attic, Thomas Jefferson Building
Washington, D.C. 20515