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LIFE IMITATES ART

America’s favorite fake president gets a real portrait at the Smithsonian museum

National Portrait Gallery
“I’m one step closer to convincing the rest of the country that I am the president.”
  • Anne Quito
By Anne Quito

Design and architecture reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

In the role of the charismatic and cunning US president Frank J. Underwood in the critically acclaimed Netflix series House of Cards, Kevin Spacey has sat through plenty of formal ceremonies. This week, the 56-year-old actor was honored with a life-size portrait at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, hanging alongside real US presidents.

For the unveiling on Feb 22, Spacey arrived in character as president Underwood. The ceremonies, attended by actual members of the White House press corps, echoed the pomp and circumstance of a traditional presidential portrait unveiling.

“I’m pleased that the Smithsonian continues to prove itself as a worthwhile institution,” said Spacey, in Underwood’s characteristic southern drawl. “I’m one step closer to convincing the rest of the country that I am the president.”

Smithsonian, National Portrait Gallery
Underwood classic.

The six-foot painting was created by British artist Jonathan Yeo, who has also painted portraits of real world leaders such as Tony Blair, David Cameron and Prince Philip.

After the ceremony, guests got an exclusive preview of the Underwood’s administration plans, which will be revealed to the public when season 4 of House of Cards streams on March 4.

But just to avoid any confusion, the portrait is not hung in the actual presidential gallery on the second floor, but near the museum’s entrance until October.

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