The National Portait Gallery in Washington D.C. features some of the country’s most influential Americans, from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King Jr. to Bob Dylan. Now, Seattle’s most famous philanthropic couple have joined those ranks. A new portrait of Bill & Melinda Gates was unveiled today. (See large version below.)

“I cannot resist saying that those of us on the staff were thrilled when the portrait developed as a joint portrait,” museum director Martin Sullivan said in a blog post.  “In fact, a double portrait, particularly of spouses who work closely with each other, is a tricky business; to catch not only the intimacy and the conversation, but the spark between them. This is, I think, one of the characteristics of this portrait that we are particularly thrilled for you to see.”

Artist Jon Friedman said the painting — based on photos taken of Bill & Melinda at their personal offices in Kirkland — was a challenge since it represented his first double portrait.

I am no art critic, but I think Friedman nailed it. What do you think?

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  • Avatar X

    umm the techniques makes it look eerie. From afar it looks like a HDR abused photo, seen closely it is instead more or less similar to a good Greg Horn cover.  But i think it is indeed good.

  • Lawrence Lam

    Where is Bill looking at? I can’t tell if he’s looking at me or off into space 

  • Anonymous

    It ought to be hung in a men’s room somewhere… smug and too self-satisfied…must be nice to have billions….frankly they’re just atrociously rich couple who have done some good things – but DO THEY DESERVE TO HANG IN THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY????  Not – to my way of thinking……………… 

  • Bob

    Kinda cool.

  • Karl

     Bill doesn’t look to happy…

  • Karl


  • Anonymous

    Totally inaccurate as Bill is not rocking back and forth. 

  • Anonymous

     I think the artist did a beautiful job and Seattle should be proud of the work of these two generous people. 

  • Anonymous

    I like the fresh relaxed nature of the portrait. They look very
    approachable and comfortable both in their environment and with each
    other. I imagine it is a very good likeness. Nice philanthropic addition
    and am ignoring the person over my shoulder who commented “All lives
    have equal value, but we can buy and sell you a million times over.”
    Jaded! I would have liked to have seen a bit of artwork in the corner
    somewhere, since Mr. Gates is/was such a great supporter of local
    artists in the 90’s. I remember hearing of the “art walks” at Microsoft
    where the employees would pick work from the exhibits to decorate the
    campus. Maybe some local glass art worked into the picture somehow. Lake
    Washington, and the sky is a bit unbelievably blue, but maybe only
    those of us in Seattle would think it impossible to get a full week of
    bright sun during a portrait sitting. All that said, I do like the
    piece, very nice.

  • cathie joy young

    As mentioned by my twitter friend it is very interesting how people react so differently to a certain piece of art. My tweep had a very favorable reaction to this painting whilst I find it chilly (body language, the glass, sharp angles) and not far enough from a photograph to be a compelling painting.

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