National Portrait Gallery hangs photo of John McCain to honour his ‘life and legacy’

The photograph is on view on the first floor of the museum

Kimberley Richards
New York
Tuesday 28 August 2018 18:26 BST
John McCain
John McCain (Reuters)

The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC has honoured John McCain’s “life and legacy” by hanging a photograph of him in the museum’s “In Memoriam” space.

The portrait of the Arizona senator was taken on Capitol Hill in 2005 by photographer Steve Pyke, who was a staff photographer at the New Yorker at the time.

“The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery recognises the life and legacy of late Senator and former presidential nominee John S McCain III with a photograph by the British-born photographer Steve Pyke,” the museum’s statement read.

The photograph is on view on the museum's first floor.

Mr McCain, a Navy veteran and prisoner of war in Vietnam, died on Saturday at age 81 following treatment for brain cancer. A description displayed underneath the photograph in the museum notes that the senator’s concession speech following the 2008 presidential election “conveyed his faith in the people of the United States”.

National Portrait Gallery senior curator Ann M Shumard revealed the photograph at the museum on Monday evening.

“The National Portrait Gallery, whenever possible, will place on view an image of a significant American when they pass away,” she said at the event according to a video by Jeff Malet Photography. “And there was no question that John McCain qualified for that kind of tribute.”

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Ms Shumard noted the museum acquired the photograph directly from Mr Pyke as they conducted research to find a photograph fitting for the tribute.

When asked how the museum decided on the photograph of Mr McCain standing next to a column on Capitol Hill, Ms Shumard explained that its “setting” spoke to Mr McCain’s “long tenure in Congress”.

Mr McCain was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1982 and elected to the Senate in 1986, where he spent the rest of his political career.

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