Segments in this Video

Did It Look Like Him? (00:44)


In this opening segment, Marc Pachter explains the various ways artists depicted George Washington in paintings. To Martha Washington, George's wife, it was important that the paintings resembled him.

Portraits of a Lady (02:14)

On October 10, 2006, The Painting Group, made up of 25 artists, met to paint their impressions of Sandra Day O'Connor. The Painting Group was established in 1958 by Aaron Shikle and David Levine in Brooklyn, New York.

Early Careers as Artists (01:38)

Shikler describes his early career in creating portraits. Levine began at the early age of seven, making animal drawings for kids in the school yard.

Portraiture Art (02:40)

While she sits for her synchronized portraits, O'Connor discusses her time at the Radford School for Girls and her poor performance in art class. Danny Schwartz explains his technique of painting portraits.

Portrait Perspective Pictures (03:18)

David Hume Kennerly's job in the project is to provide the point of view pictures from each artist's position. A reference is needed for the following days of working on the paintings. O'Connor discusses the portrait painting of Chief Justice John Marshall.

Positive Hope (02:17)

During her ten years as an only child, O'Connor had lots of pets to keep her company. Lavine explains how his age does not affect his artistic relevancy. His caricatures emphasize the weaknesses of the subject.

Justice Apparel (04:01)

While posing, O'Connor discusses a time when she was criticized for lacking color while on the bench. During her travels to France, she discovered a robe that suits her personality. She discusses the unique robes of Chief Justice John Jay and Chief Justice Bill Rehnquist.

Artists and Instructors (03:06)

Lavine and Shikler do not charge for their portrait painting instruction. At times, they might give a student opposite recommendations. O'Connor continues to humor the artists with stories of the justices of the past.

Break Time (02:51)

Byron Dobell explains that if you can draw a human figure from life, you can do anything. Levine attempts to pay O'Connor for her time, and she refuses, because she cannot accept payment for personal service.

Variation in Impressions (02:48)

The portrait painting session continues, and O'Connor is asked to not speak so artists can paint her face more effectively. The session ends, and O'Connor is pleased with how hard everyone worked using different mediums.

Partially From Life (02:58)

The next day, the group works to complete their paintings from Kennerly's photographs. Anne Navasky explains how prior knowledge of Justice O'Connor adds depth to her painting.

David Levine's Adaptability (02:24)

Levine has difficulties with O'Connor's portrait, because he developed macular degeneration. He must use mediums that work with his disability. These paintings will be displayed in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.

Subjectivity in Portraiture (05:10)

On March 27, 2007, the exhibition opens displaying the various impressions of Justice O'Connor. Many notable political figures attend the unveiling.

America's Next Top Model (01:32)

Justice O'Connor speaks at the exhibition. She concludes that we do not really know what our founding fathers look like. Shikler explains how the act of putting paint on canvas is happiness.

Credits: Portraits of a Lady (01:49)

Credits: Portraits of a Lady

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Portraits of a Lady

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



In October 2006, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor sat for two 3-hour sessions, agreeing to have her portrait painted by not one, but 25 separate artists. In the end, these painters – some amateurs, some professionals – created vastly different images of this iconic figure, shedding light on both their subject (who entertained the room with anecdotes about herself and other Supreme Court luminaries), as well as the process and heritage of portraiture in American history and politics. An HBO Production. 

Length: 41 minutes

Item#: BVL115024

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.