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After Years of Reluctance, Mario Cuomo Gets His (Surprise) Official Portrait

Saturday, June 23, 2012

For more than a decade, former Governor Mario Cuomo refused to sit for his official portrait. But he got a surprise birthday gift over the weekend: an oil-on-canvas portrait bound for the State Capitol.

The portrait of the state's 52nd governor was commissioned earlier this year despite the elder Cuomo's notorious hemming and hawing over the painting, according to the New York Times:

The former governor, in an interview, suggested he found the whole idea pompous. He also said he had no patience for posing: “I went to electric razors so I would not have to look at myself in the morning.”

Others, of course, see simply stubbornness, a quality they say they know well from Mr. Cuomo’s days as governor.

The work was completed by artist Simmie Knox — who painting official White House portraits of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton and many others — and will hang in the Hall of Governors in the State Capitol.

It's unclear what made the former governor change his mind.

"Today is a particularly special day for me, as I have the privilege of unveiling the official portrait of a man who not only has served New York State for many years including 12 as governor, but a father who also instilled in me the value of public service," Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "I am pleased that this portrait will now be in the Hall of Governors and available to the many New Yorkers who visit to learn the story of our state's history."

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