Gov. Bill Haslam’s Portrait Marks The Beginning Of His Legacy | Nashville Public Radio

Gov. Bill Haslam’s Portrait Marks The Beginning Of His Legacy

Dec 20, 2018

A new portrait of Gov. Bill Haslam was unveiled this week at the state Capitol.

The ceremony, which happens at the end of every governor’s term, marks the beginning of each one’s legacy.

Haslam joked that when he first saw his portrait, he thought the painter made him look somewhat older.

"My nose looks a little too big," Haslam told an audience at the unveiling ceremony Monday. "But I brought two or three people with me and they went, ‘He got it exactly right.’”

The portrait has Haslam at the center — wearing a dark, striped suit, with a white shirt, grey tie and handkerchief. He is sitting on a desk, in front of a window.

You can see the mountains, an ode to his East Tennessee roots. But, Haslam said the painter, Nashville's Shane Neal, missed one thing. 

"If he had gotten it exactly right, it would’ve been a little different. It would have had [First Lady] Crissy [Haslam] in the picture. And my family and kids who have allowed me to do this.” 

Haslam’s portrait will now hang alongside those of other recent governors, including current Sen. Lamar Alexander.

He said that, even though their portraits are now in a place of honor, they’ll end up elsewhere.

“Eventually you and I and the others will all go to storage," Alexander said. "It’s a lesson in humility.”

Because of limited space, only the portraits of the past eight governors are displayed in the Capitol’s main hall.

The governor rotating out is Frank Clement, whose portrait was taken down on Dec. 13.

Clement served 10 years as governor in the 1950s and '60s. He's noted as being the first Southern governor to veto a Jim Crow law.

Like Clement's portrait, Haslam's painting can be expected to remain on display at the Capitol for about half a century.