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Fit for a T: Portrait Gallery Gets Obama 'Hope' Collage

(National Portrait Gallery, ┬ęShepard Fairey)

That campaign-defining image of Barack Obama that burned itself into your brain this past year is headed to the National Portrait Gallery.

The original red-and-blue "Hope" collage by graphic designer Shepard Fairey that inspired countless posters, T-shirts and buttons has been obtained by the gallery via a gift from Washington superlobbyists Tony and Heather Podesta.

The two are longtime fans of Fairey who have several other works of his in their large, eye-popping modern-art collection. Though they've donated to other local museums, this is their first to the Portrait Gallery -- and the Portrait Gallery's first Obama image to join its permanent collection.

Heather and Tony Podesta (Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post)

"It seemed like a historic moment for the country, and a chance to do something for art and Democrats," Tony Podesta, brother of transition co-chairman John Podesta, told us. The gift is in honor of their late mother, Mary K. Podesta, who became an ardent supporter of the future president after meeting him at their fundraiser for his 2004 Senate race. "She would giggle and say, 'He liked my cooking!' " Heather Podesta recalled.

The surprisingly large work -- 60 inches by 44 inches -- will hang in the "new arrivals" gallery on the museum's first floor, where its nearby neighbor will be the newly unveiled Laura Bush portrait. Gallery spokeswoman Bethany Bentley said it will be up by Inauguration Day.

By The Reliable Source  |  January 7, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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It's exciting that the definitive portrait of Obama will remain available to the public. Kudos to Mr. Podesta--and to the portrait gallery, which is on quite a roll.

Posted by: redlineblue | January 7, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Super lobbyists you say? How much did the Podestas cost our country over the years? A lot more than a donated poster I'm sure. One trillion and still counting.

Posted by: Urbancat | January 7, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

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