40 1/4 × 30 1/8 in. (102.2 × 76.5 cm)
Framed: 47 1/2 x 37 1/2 x 2 3/4 in. (120.7 x 95.3 x 7 cm)
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
George Matthews was well-positioned for this 1933 commission to paint Joseph Byrns. He had been employed as both a painter and restorer at the Capitol for decades. While the House Collection contains only two of his portraits, his work is evident in many wall paintings in the building. He was known to have retouched and repainted Brumidi’s 19th century frescoes. In some cases, the overpainting was so extensive that he signed and dated his work. This Appropriations Committee Chairman’s portrait, an original composition, is one of Matthews’ best efforts, and he gives the notoriously craggy Byrns a rosy, beatific look.