Cannon Rotunda Portrait Busts

Oscar Underwood/tiles/non-collection/2/2005_141_004aoc.xml
Oscar Underwood, Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Martin Madden/tiles/non-collection/2/2005_141_002aoc.xml
Martin Madden, Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Claude Kitchin/tiles/non-collection/2/2005_141_001aoc.xml
Claude Kitchin, Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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James Robert Mann/tiles/non-collection/2/2005_141_003aoc.xml
James Robert Mann, Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Four marble busts in the Cannon Rotunda echo the stately air of the building’s architecture. Each bust memorializes a congressman who was a major figure during his House tenure. One chaired a powerful committee, one was a party leader, and two claimed both distinctions. They were originally installed in the House Chamber and moved to the Cannon Rotunda in 1949.

Oscan Wilder Underwood/tiles/non-collection/2/2002_021_013.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Although the artist who painted Underwood's portrait said the Congressman had "the charm of a lovable boy," Underwood's official likenesses were all business.
Oscar Underwood’s bust was given to the House in 1933, fully 20 years after he left its service. In the first part of the century, he served as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and as Democratic Majority Leader. Sculptor Chester Beach included modern touches of tie, coat, and watch chain in the traditional marble bust. The appearance of the same ensemble in Underwood’s committee chairman portrait suggests that this was his signature look.

Martin Madden was known for his attire, too, but his bust has a very different feel. Madden was rumpled in appearance, craggy in features, and possessed of a homespun air. His bust, made the year after he died while chairing an Appropriations Committee meeting, would have been seen as an excellent evocation of the man, from his trademark pompadour to his slightly off-center tie.

Martin Barnaby Madden/tiles/non-collection/2/2008_231_001.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representative
About this object
News photos of Martin Madden enjoying a simple repast reinforced his down-to-earth image.
The bust of Claude Kitchin also honors a man who died in office. Kitchin, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and the Democratic Majority Leader during three Congresses, was one of the party’s great orators in the House. He was passionately opposed to U.S. entry into World War I, leading the ranks of those who voted against it in the House. Artist Edgardo Simone took Kitchin’s status as a man of principle to heart, depicting him with a gaze of steely resolve.

James Robert Mann was the Republican Majority Leader for more than a decade, from 1911 until his death in 1922. In 1925, this bust was dedicated alongside that of Mann’s contemporary, Speaker Champ Clark. The sculptor, Herbert Adams, used his Parisian training to good effect in rendering Mann in a smooth, formal fashion that suits its Beaux-Arts setting.

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