Historic Unveiling of Rare Washington Portrait Tuesday at TAMIU
Posted: 2/7/13

Historic Unveiling of Rare Stuart
Portrait of Washington Tuesday

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 6:30 p.m., a special unveiling will take place in honor of a historical milestone for the City of Laredo and Texas A&M International University as the university becomes one of only a handful of institutions of higher learning in the U.S. to exhibit an original Gilbert Stuart Athenaeum (“Dollar Bill”) portrait of George Washington.  

Carol Wyrick, a nationally acclaimed art historian and former director of Education at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  will present opening remarks prior to the unveiling in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library. Guests will enjoy samplings of George Washington’s favorite foods, including “hoecakes,” traditional pancakes made of cornmeal.

Event sponsors include TAMIU, IBC Bank, Harlan Crow Library, Southern Distributing, UBS, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Moreno, Mr. and Mrs. Javier Garza, Mr. and Mrs. Pancho Averill, and Dr. and Mrs. Vito H. Ruiz.

The portrait remains on exhibit through Thursday, Feb. 14 only, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily in the Killam Library. 

This is the second event of the three-part Laredo Portrait Project, which uses the portraiture and image of George Washington as the unifying theme to pay tribute to his life and legacy.   

The first component is “The Many Faces of George Washington,” a national traveling exhibition examining the multi-dimensional, real-life man behind the myth, which opened Feb. 5 and continues through Feb. 25, 2013 at the Killam Library.  It is open Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sat-Sun from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.  

The Stuart portrait to be displayed in Laredo is one of his original replicas of his most famous portrait of George Washington, the Athenaeum. 

“People have to travel to Dallas or even out of state just to see one of these portraits,” explains Toni L. Ruiz, one of the sponsors of the Portrait Project. 

“This is truly a big deal for Laredo and an incredible opportunity that everyone should take advantage of.  The portrait is important not only because it is a national treasure, but because of the noble American ideals and values George Washington represents for all of us,” Ruiz noted.

The City of Laredo and organizers of the Portrait Project are indebted to the Harlan Crow Library of Dallas for the generous loan of this national treasure.  Harlan Crow, son of real estate mogul Trammel Crow, has assembled an extraordinary collection of priceless artifacts over the past 30 years, including 8,000 rare books, 3,500 manuscripts, correspondence, paintings by America’s greatest masters, photographs, and sculptures that reflect 500 years of American history (among other subjects). 

Some of the library's gems include the 1493 Latin printing of Columbus's letter to the Spanish court announcing his discoveries, a deed to George Washington's Mount Vernon estate, a silver tankard created by Paul Revere, rare copies of Abraham Lincoln’s life masks, and correspondence from all U.S. presidents. The priceless collection is housed in a grand two-story private museum quality library Crow built in 2004 near his 34,453 square foot Highland Park mansion. 

On Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., the final event in the three-part Laredo Portrait Project bows with the American Historical Theatre’s premiere of “Portrait of a Patriot,” sponsored by WBCA at the TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts. John Lopes will portray George Washington while Bob Gleason will portray the portraitist Gilbert Stuart.  Admission is free of charge.

For additional information, call (956) 763-9325 for details, or visit tamiu.edu/portraitproject.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu