Cecilia Beaux received the commission to paint Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sereno Payne’s portrait in 1912, the same year the Corcoran Gallery of Art mounted a retrospective exhibition of her work. The highly regarded artist accepted the commission before meeting Payne, and she wrote that she was initially startled by his resemblance to her father. Completing the painting in just 10 days, Beaux emphasized his stern face and white hair, aiming to project his thoughtful, intelligent character through her subtle modeling of his face.
History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, “Sereno Elisha Payne,” https://history.house.gov/Collection/Listing/2002/2002-021-019/ (July 04, 2022)
Office of the Historian
Office of Art and Archives
Attic, Thomas Jefferson Building
Washington, D.C. 20515