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Historical Highlights

The House Unveils the Portrait of Chairman William Poage of Texas

February 26, 1968
The House Unveils the Portrait of Chairman William Poage of Texas Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Serving 21 terms in the House of Representatives, William Poage of Texas served as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee for four Congresses.
On this date, the House unveiled a portrait of Representative William Poage of Texas, marking his chairmanship of the Committee on Agriculture. Poage served as chairman for nearly a decade (1967–1975) but his portrait unveiling is notable because it occurred only one year into his tenure. Victor Lallier’s portrait of Chairman Poage is one of eight paintings he made for the House of Representatives. Like the chairman, Lallier (1912–1995) was a Texan, but the list of Congressmen who sat for portraits with Lallier spanned the country, including Brock Adams of Washington, Al Ullman of Oregon, Thomas Morgan of Pennsylvania, Howard Smith of Virginia, George P. Miller of California, John McCormack of Massachusetts, and Wright Patman of Texas. Lallier studied at several art schools, and built a 60-year career painting official portraits in Texas and elsewhere. The rendering of Chairman Poage places him before a credenza in his office, holding a paper, rolled up in the manner of a scroll. The book and green bowl behind him add a touch of color to an otherwise sober portrait. The subject’s face presents a sunny visage that belied his ability to badger witnesses during committee hearings. At the portrait’s unveiling, then-Secretary of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman remarked that when Poage “starts zeroing-in on me and going after the answer that he wants and suggesting at times that I must not be properly informed . . . I will not look at the chairman, I will look at the portrait.”

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