Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s choice of Bulgarian-born, Atlanta-based artist Ross R. Rossin — known simply as Rossin — to get the $25,000 commission to paint his official portrait made Marianne Combs of MPR wonder if other governors have outsourced the portrait job to non-Minnesota artists.
Not many have, she found.
She already knew that Gov. Jesse Ventura hired an Arizona native who lives in California for his portrait. And with the help of Minnesota Historical Society’s art curator Brian Szott, she learned that Orville Freeman in the 1950s hired a non-Minnesotan. Luther Youngdahl — 1947-51 — might have (it’s unclear, if his artist, Louis A. Grendahl, was a Minnesotan).
So, at least 35 of the state’s 39 governors did keep the job in-state, she concludes.
“Why?” she asks. “Is it because we’re now living in a more globalized society? (not likely — Orville Freeman served in 1955) Is it a political thing? (also unlikely, since those who chose non-Minnesotans were a Democrat, an Independent and a Republican, respectively). Or were they concerned about their image at the national level? Hmm …”
She said she’s got a call into the governor’s office to ask about his reasoning.