Recently departed New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg had his official portrait hung in New York City Hall on Monday. And both the subject and its artist have significant local connections.
Bloomberg, of course, is a native of Medford. And his portrait artist, Jon R. Friedman, has studios in New York as well as Cape Cod in Truro. The Cape’s scenery inspired his landscape paintings “Wellfleet Thicket” and “Sunset, Low Tide, Fisher Beach.”
Friedman is renowned not only for his landscapes, but for commissioned portraits like Bloomberg’s. He also painted Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank , a work that was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington for its permanent collection. In November, a Friedman portrait of media mogul Ted Turner will be unveiled in a ceremony at the gallery.
As for Friedman’s latest piece, Bloomberg is captured standing inside City Hall. The portrait is oil on canvas, and stands 50 inches tall by 36 inches wide. It now hangs outside the Blue Room, where all past mayoral portraits are displayed chronologically. Bloomberg’s painting is a privately funded gift for the public, like all recent mayoral portraits.
Maybe Friedman will get to paint the next New York City mayor, too. After all, Bill de Blasio is a devoted Sox fan who grew up in Cambridge.