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Everett Raymond Kinstler
Artist, Indiana Governors' Portrait Collection
Otis R. Bowen (b. 1918), painted 1978
Governor of Indiana
January 9, 1973-January 13, 1981
IN THEIR SEARCH for an artist to paint a portrait of Governor Bowen, the selection committee considered several prestigious contemporary American portrait painters and finally chose Everett Raymond Kinstler. In early April of 1978, soon after the terms of the commission had been arranged, Kinstler arrived in Indianapolis to meet Governor Bowen and begin the portrait. (1) Five three-hour sittings were held in a house on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Kinstler photographed the governor daily to aid in the completion of the portrait in his New York studio.
Although Kinstler has departed from the staid formula for executive portraiture in his representation of Governor Bowen, he has managed to invest the portrait with an imposing official air. Wearing a suit and accessories of his own choosing, the governor addresses the viewer in a relaxed, direct manner. Kinstler has caught the governor in his most characteristic gesture, with the fingertips of both hands meeting as if to emphasize a point. The background elements, a decorative molding and a carved state seal, make reference to similar ornaments found in the governor's office and lend structure and atmosphere to the picture. Kinstler's fresh approach and keen perception make the Bowen portrait an important addition to the Governors Portrait Collection.
A protégé of James Montgomery Flagg, the famed illustrator and creator of the image of Uncle Sam for a World War I recruiting poster, Kinstler worked as an illustrator of books, comic books, and magazines for fifteen years. Study with the Indiana-born portrait artist Wayman Adams sparked Kinstler's interest in portraiture, to which he turned with increasing enthusiasm in the late 1950's. Since 1963, the artist has received many important commissions, including portraits of twenty-five United States cabinet officers, all painted from life. Most recently Kinstler has completed the official portrait of President Gerald Ford. A National Academician, Kinstler is an active member of several arts organizations including the American Watercolor Society and the National Arts Club.
(1) Everett Raymond Kinstler to editor, September 1, 1978. Files pertaining to Governors' portraits, Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Source: Peat, Wilbur D. Portraits and Painters of the Governors of Indiana 1800-1978. Revised, edited and with new entries by Diane Gail Lazarus, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Biographies of the governors by Lana Ruegamer, Indiana Historical Society. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1978.