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Hugh Scott


TitleHugh Scott
Artist/MakerChestine (Chris) L. Owen (1920 - 2011) 
Date1981
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions h. 49 x  w. 36 in. ( h. 124.46 x  w. 91.44 cm)
Credit LineU.S. Senate Collection
Accession Number32.00065.000


  • Object Description
  • During his lengthy Congressional career, first in the U.S. House of Representatives and later in the U.S. Senate, Hugh Scott served as Senate Republican leader and exhibited skills as a legislative tactician, often rising above partisan concerns for the national interest.

    This portrait depicts Senator Scott comfortably seated and surrounded by objects that represent his varied interests and achievements. An ardent pipe smoker, he holds one of the 500 pipes he collected. The book resting on the senator's knee likely alludes to the many publications he authored, including "The Golden Age of Chinese Art." A sculpture of a Chinese Tang dynasty horse in the portrait's background refers to Scott's lifelong interests in Chinese art and culture, which proved useful when the U.S. reestablished relations with China in 1972. Scott was part of the first official Senate delegation to the People’s Republic of China in 1972.

    Following Senator Scott’s retirement in 1977 with 34 years of service in Congress, the Senate designated room S-120 in the U.S. Capitol as the Hugh Scott Room. The portrait of Scott by artist Chris Owen was completed shortly before the room’s dedication on September 15, 1981.

    Chstine “Chris” L. Owen earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Kansas in the early 1940s and taught painting in Florida. She accepted commissions to paint portraits of university trustees and presidents, as well as figures in business and government. She executed the official portrait of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White, now in the collection of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Owen later completed a second portrait of Hugh Scott which resides at the senator’s alma mater, Randolph Macon College in Virginia.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
  • Signature (recto, bottom right): Chris Owen '81