Historical Highlights

The Mysterious Artist, C.J. Fox, and the Portrait of Chairman Edward Garmatz

October 06, 1968
The Mysterious Artist, C.J. Fox, and the Portrait of Chairman Edward Garmatz Image, Congressional Pictorial Directory, 1965 As Chairman of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Representative Edward Garmatz of Maryland worked to protect the shipping industry of Baltimore.
On this date, Representative Edward Garmatz of Maryland celebrated his chairmanship of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries with the unveiling of his portrait in the committee hearing room. The portrait was signed by the popular artist “C.J. Fox.” However much to everyone’s surprise, C.J. Fox did not exist. As court documents later showed, it was the pseudonym of businessman Leo Fox, who solicited important commissions for decades under the name Charles J. Fox. In fact, Fox paid Russian-born New York artist Irving Resnikoff to paint them. Trained in St. Petersburg, Resnikoff left Russia in 1917 and began a career as a portrait artist, in association with Fox. He never met any of the dozens of leading figures in government and business he portrayed. All the portraits were made from photographs. Garmatz’s portrait is one of his best works. The dapper chairman faces the viewer, with the flag of his home state, Maryland, behind him. A lifelong Baltimorean, Garmatz worked his way through East Baltimore political organizations to be elected to the House in 1947, to fill the unexpired term of Thomas D’Alessandro, Jr. Garmatz was drawn to the maritime committee out of a need to protect Baltimore’s shipping industry. Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts hailed Garmatz as “one of the great chairmen,” and said that he felt sure everyone present wished for his continued leadership of the committee. The ranking minority Member of the committee, Republican William Maillard of California, quipped, that he would rather they alternate that job on occasion. 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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