Senator Bob Dole’s 45 years in public office include service in the Kansas state legislature and both houses of the U.S. Congress, leadership of his party’s national committee, floor leadership in the U.S. Senate, and the Republican Party’s nominations for vice president and president of the United States.
Having established a reputation for toughness, shrewdness, and wit as a legislative leader, Bob Dole became the Senate’s majority leader in 1985. He continued to lead the Republican party in the minority from 1987 to 1994, and once again as majority leader from 1995 until he retired from the Senate in 1996 to accept the Republican presidential nomination. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997 and served as national chairman of the World War II Memorial. In 2002, Bob Dole became a Senate spouse when his wife, Elizabeth Hanford Dole, was elected as a senator from North Carolina.
This portrait depicts Dole during his tenure as Republican leader. The distinctive, 19th-century gilded mirror in the background establishes the setting as the Republican Leader’s suite in the U.S. Capitol. Dole clasps a pen in his right hand, a subtle reference to permanent injuries he sustained during World War II, and wears the ribbon bar on his lapel from one of his Purple Heart medals. The artist utilized sophisticated red, white, and blue accents for this portrait of one of America's esteemed statesmen.
Artist Everett Raymond Kinstler studied at the Arts Students League, where he later taught from 1969 to 1974. Long established as one of the nation’s foremost portrait painters, Kinstler executed more than 1,200 portraits during a career that spanned six decades. He painted five United States presidents and fifty cabinet officers, including Elizabeth Dole. The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery owns 71 of his works and in 1999 awarded him the John Singleton Copley Medal, its highest honor.
Representing Kansas in the House for 8 years and the Senate for more than 27 years, Bob Dole was known as a strong partisan debater and tough negotiator who also excelled at forging bipartisan alliances to enact legislation. Born on July 22, 1923, in Russell, Kansas, Dole attended the University of Kansas, playing for the basketball, football, and track teams. He joined the army and was seriously wounded during World War II, spending years undergoing rehabilitation at a military hospital. Two of his fellow patients, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Phil Hart of Michigan, later served with him in the Senate. Demonstrating his ability to reach across party lines, Dole joined with liberal Democrat George McGovern to reform the federal food stamp program in 1977. He chaired the Finance Committee from 1981 to 1985 and served as Republican floor leader from 1985 until 1996, when he left the Senate to run for president. In 2000 Dole returned to the Senate to deliver a “Leader’s Lecture” to his former colleagues in the Old Senate Chamber.