James Earl Carter, Jr., 1980, Oil on canvas by Robert Clark Templeton
In the early stages of the 1976 presidential campaign, the experts hardly gave a second thought to Jimmy Carter's chances of winning the Democratic nomination, much less the White House. But the former Georgia governor's "can-do," Washington outsider's image, along with his traditional populism, had great voter appeal, and in the final poll he emerged triumphant. Unfortunately, Carter did not prove as popular in the presidency as he had on the stump, being blamed for problems such as runaway inflation. Nevertheless, his administration had some unalloyed successes, including a landmark peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, which would probably never have been reached without Carter's own dogged determination to make it happen.
Artist Robert Templeton made the first sketches for this portrait at the White House in 1978. In the picture, Carter stands in the Oval Office, which is furnished as it had been during his administration. The donkey statuette on his desk was a gift from the Democratic National Committee.