Artist Claims he Put Reference to Monica Lewinsky’s Infamous Blue Dress in Bill Clinton’s Official Portrait

Former President Bill Clinton, left, looks up at his portrait after Lawrence M. Small, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, right, helped him remove the drape on April 24, 2006 in Washington, D.C.
Former President Bill Clinton, left, looks up at his portrait after Lawrence M. Small, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, right, helped him remove the drape on April 24, 2006 in Washington, D.C. (Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP Photo)

Here’s one issue the Clintons may — or may not — want to brush off.

In a recent interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, the artist who painted a portrait of President Bill Clinton that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. revealed a surprise — the portrait “subtly” incorporated Monica Lewinsky.

Artist Nelson Shanks told the newspaper that the shadow on the left side of the portrait was cast by a mannequin in a blue dress — a nod to the president’s affair with his 22-year-old intern.

Shanks, who described Clinton as “the most famous liar of all time,” told the Philadelphia Daily News that the shadow represents a metaphorical “shadow on the office he held.”

Shanks painted the portrait while standing in the Oval Office.

He says he placed a mannequin in a blue dress to cast a shadow on the mantle while he was painting. However, the mannequin and the president were never in the room at the same time, he noted.

According to Shanks, the Clintons are pressuring the National Portrait Gallery to remove the painting. However, a museum spokesperson told ABC News that they have not received any requests from the Clintons to remove the portrait.

The portrait is currently not on display, but it is in the museum’s gallery of collection.

The portrait originally stirred controversy when it was released in 2006 for the notable absence of a wedding ring on the President’s hand.

Shanks did not immediately respond to request for comment from ABC News.

SOURCE: A.J. Feather
ABC News

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