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The National Portrait Gallery Is Installing an Aretha Franklin Portrait To Honor Her Legacy

The 1968 Milton Glaser portrait captures the energy of her performances
Aretha Franklin with her portrait. Photograph courtesy of Angela Pham BFA

As the Washington world mourns the passing of the Queen of Soul, the National Portrait Gallery will display its 1968 Milton Glaser portrait of Aretha Franklin tomorrow morning.

The portrait is a color lithograph poster that famed graphic designer Milton Glaser (he designed the “I Love NY” logo) created in 1968, the same year the Portrait Gallery opened. It shows off the “creative power” of Franklin’s performances through Glaser’s kaleidoscopic color pattern.

CNN’s Hunter Schwarz first reported that the portrait will be viewable through Aug. 22, and a spokesperson tells Washingtonian it will be installed in the museum’s In Memoriam space on the first floor.

It’s one of the many ways Washington’s political elite are mourning the passing of the musical icon.

The Portrait Gallery previously honored Franklin in 2015 with the inaugural “Portrait of a Nation Prize.” Afterward, Franklin sang her hits “Respect,” “Freedom,” and “Chain of Fools.” That same year, Franklin also performed at the Kennedy Center Honors, bringing Barack Obama to tears.

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Christian Paz
Editorial Fellow