The Forgotten Man (painting)

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The Forgotten Man
ArtistJon McNaughton
MediumOil painting
OwnerSean Hannity[2]

The Forgotten Man is a 2010 painting by the American artist Jon McNaughton.[3] It depicts President Barack Obama standing in front of the White House.[4] The subject matter of the painting was inspired by the passage of the Affordable Care Act.[2] McNaughton unveiled the painting in a YouTube video on September 14, 2010.[5] It was the second in a series of politically charged portraits painted by McNaughton.[6]


The 43 men who as of 2010 had served as President of the United States are gathered in a park in front of the White House, above which the American flag can be seen, at half mast. In general, the 18th and 19th century presidents are on the left, the later ones on the right, some appear lost in thought while others, Bill Clinton and the two Roosevelts, are applauding. The only non-president in the painting is a young white man, who sits alone on a park bench, hunched over in despair, contemplating his future. Some of the presidents, including Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Reagan reach out to him, while looking toward Barack Obama who stands in the foreground right. James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, is outraged by Obama's actions, for beneath Obama's foot is the U.S. Constitution. Scattered on the ground are dollar bills, laws and amendments that form part of the Bill of Rights.

Reception and influence[edit]

The painting gained initial notoriety in 2010 when it was featured on MSNBC television host Rachel Maddow's blog as part of a caption contest.[7] In 2012, it drew satirical praise during an episode of The Colbert Report from Stephen Colbert's conservative persona.[8]

After being purchased by conservative commentator Sean Hannity in 2016, The Forgotten Man was rumored to have been bought as a gift for then President-elect Donald Trump, though a spokesperson for Fox News (Hannity's employer) later clarified that the painting was never intended to be given as a gift.[9][10]

The painting has drawn comparisons to a 1934 Maynard Dixon painting of the same name.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Steve Rose (17 November 2016). "The Forgotten Man: a fitting oil painting for Trump's America". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Peter Schjeldahl (24 December 2016). "Year of "The Forgotten Man"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ Michael Hastings (3 April 2012). "Anti-Obama Art Selling For Six Figures". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ Adam K. Raymond (16 November 2016). "Will a Painting of Obama Trampling the Constitution Hang in Trump's White House?". New York Magazine. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  5. ^ Brian Bolduc (2 March 2012). "The Forgotten Man Raises His Brush". The National Review. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Controversial Artist Depicts Obama Trampling The Constitution". CBS Las Vegas. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ Anika Mehta (2 March 2012). "The Forgotten Man: Jon McNaughton Painting Shows Obama Standing on US Constitution [PHOTO]". International Business Times. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  8. ^ Brennan Smith (13 September 2017). "Utah painter who found fame and controversy for religious and political art releases first Trump piece". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  9. ^ Jim Newell (17 November 2016). "Did Sean Hannity Buy Donald Trump This Anti-Obama Painting to Hang in the White House?". Slate. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  10. ^ Henry C. Jacson (17 November 2016). "Update: Mystery solved! Hannity bought the anti-Obama painting for himself". Politico. Retrieved 25 April 2018.