"A year ago we presented Governor Mario Cuomo with his official gubernatorial portrait. Today, we unveiled the painting in the Hall of Governors to complete the exquisite gallery that tells the story of our state's distinguished history and its leaders," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. "Governor Mario Cuomo was not just one of our state's greatest governors, but a father that instilled in me the values of public service, hard work, and commitment to making our state a better place. I can think of no better way to celebrate my dad on his birthday this Father's Day weekend."
The portrait of New York's 52nd governor was painted by Simmie Knox, a nationally-recognized portraiture artist whose works include the official White House portraits of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, as well as U.S. Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mr. Knox has been commissioned by private individuals, organizations, and institutions and has also painted portraits of a U.S. cabinet member, U.S. congressmen and state senators, a mayor of New York City, respected civic leaders, sports figures, entertainment celebrities, educators, judges, religious leaders, military officers, businessmen, and private individuals.
The portrait was done with oil paint on oil-primed linen. Mr. Knox based the portrait on a 1989 photograph of Governor Mario Cuomo taken by Don Pollard. The portrait can be viewed here.
About Governor Mario M. Cuomo
New York's 52nd Governor (1983–1994). Mario M. Cuomo (b. 1932) a Queens native, served three terms as Governor after serving as Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State. He was a progressive governor who believed in the power of government to improve people’s lives while taking a pragmatic approach to fiscal issues. During his tenure, Cuomo dramatically lowered income tax rates, made large investments in public education, infrastructure, transportation and public safety. A steadfast opponent of the death penalty, he vetoed death penalty bills 12 times. Regarded as one of the nation’s most gifted orators, he gave voice nationally to issues ranging from the role of religion in public life to expanding opportunity for all.
About the Hall of Governors
The historic Hall of Governors on the second floor of the Capitol was reopened to the public by Governor Cuomo on his first day in office, and renovated to make it a more welcoming and meaningful place for members of the public and visiting school groups. The Hall, which provides the only access to many offices within the Executive Chamber including the Governor's office, holds portraits of the past governors of New York State.
The restored Hall of Governors includes:
· New Portraits and Historical Timeline: A number of portraits of former governors that were missing from the collection were restored and brought to the Hall of Governors, including Governor John Jay and Governor William Seward. Additionally, all portraits in the Hall of Governors were reorganized to be displayed chronologically, biographies of each pictured governor were placed beneath each portrait, and a timeline was installed on the walls of the Hall to provide historical context.
· New Website: A new website – hallofgovernors.ny.gov – has been created with additional historical documentation. The website is accessible by smart phones, offering a walking tour of the Hall of Governors and enabling visitors to listen to highlights from speeches and view writings of former governors while touring the gallery.
· Additional Artifacts: The Hall now features documents chronicling New York's early statehood, including:
o A copy of the first state constitution from 1777
o A letter from George Washington expressing confidence in General George Clinton in 1777
o Documents pertaining to the abolition of slavery
o Artifacts from a number of governors pictured in the Hall, including Samuel Tilden, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Al Smith, Franklin Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, and Hugh Carey
o A copy of the General Association of 1775, a statement of revolution regarding the intent to form a new government, produced one year before the Declaration of Independence.