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Harry Reid

Title Harry Reid
Artist/Maker Gavin Glakas ( 1975   -   Present )  
Date 2016
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions h. 47.16 x w. 35.38 in. (h. 119.8 x w. 89.9 cm)
Credit Line U.S. Senate Collection
Accession Number 32.00069.000

  • Object Description
  • Senator Harry Reid represented the people of Nevada in the U.S. Senate for three decades, from 1987 to 2017. A native of Searchlight, Nevada, he served on the U.S. Capitol Police force while attending George Washington University Law School. After graduation, Reid returned to Nevada where he launched his political career, serving in the state assembly, as lieutenant governor, and as chair of the state gaming commission. First elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, he won election to the Senate in 1986. During his five terms in the Senate, Reid served as chairman of the Committee on the Environment and Public Works (January 2001) and the Select Committee on Ethics (2001–2003). Senate Democrats elected him party whip in 1999 and party leader in 2005. As Senate majority leader, Reid helped to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. He served as party leader until his retirement in 2017.

    The portrait by artist Gavin Glakas shows Reid seated behind a large leather-top library table in the Democratic leader's office on the west front of the Capitol. The historic table was acquired by the Senate in 1860 for use in the vice president's ceremonial office in the Capitol and was later used by Reid from 2011 to 2017. Reid wears his senator's pin on the lapel of his jacket and appears, with pen in hand, as if about to sign a document.

    Other details incorporated into the composition reflect the history of the senator's home state as well as his personal interests. The small bronze statue pictured to the right of the senator depicts Sarah Winnemucca, a member of the Paiute tribe, author, and advocate for Native American rights who was born in present-day Nevada. This maquette by Benjamin Victor, which was displayed in the leader's office, is the model for the full-scale statue) given by Nevada to the National Statuary Hall Collection in 2005. Two other objects pictured in the background of the portrait attest to the senator's interest in the author Samuel L. Clemens (pen name Mark Twain): the frame of a 1935 painting of the author by Frank Edwin Larson is shown above Senator Reid's head, and a portion of a framed document with the signatures "S. L. Clemens" and "Mark Twain" is visible on the credenza behind him.

    Reid selected Glakas of McLean, Virginia, to create the portrait. Glakas was well-known to the senator; after studying at Washington University in St. Louis and the Slade School of Fine Art in London, he worked as a member of Senator Reid's staff for a year and a half. Glakas originally planned to attend law school, but after recovering from a serious illness he decided to become a painter. His artwork is part of the collections of the House of Representatives, Georgetown University, and George Washington University, among other institutions, as well as numerous private collections. Senator Reid had multiple sittings with Glakas in the Democratic leader's office during the spring and summer of 2016 to complete the portrait. The painting was unveiled at a ceremony held on December 8, 2016, and subsequently installed in the Senate wing of the Capitol.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
  • Signature (Recto, top left): Gavin Glakas '16
  • Related Objects
  • Senate Exhibitions & Publications
  • U.S. Senate Leadership Portrait Collection (Digital Exhibition)
  • Rights and Reproduction
  • Policies, Permissions, and Copyright
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