A Pennsylvania-based artist is working on a portrait of former Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a work that will presumably hang in the State House alongside the likenesses of the governors who served before the Swampscott Republican.
Ellen Cooper — an award-winning portrait artist with a portfolio that includes paintings of dozens of academic, medical and judicial officials — lists "Charles Baker, Governor Massachusetts (in progress)" on the collections page of her website. A spokesman for Baker did not respond Wednesday to a State House News Service inquiry about the portrait.
Word that Cooper was the one working on Baker's portrait first emerged in January, when MassterList reported that Baker's campaign account made a $1,534.49 payment to Ellen Cooper Portraits, LLC, on Dec. 29, 2022.
Earlier that week, Baker declined to share the name of the artist working on his portrait during an exit interview with the News Service.
"I sat for it," Baker said of his portrait in the late December interview. "I don't know when it will be finished, I really don't. I think it's going to be a while."
Campaign finance filings show that Baker's campaign made an initial $6,000 payment for "deposit for portrait" to Cooper on Aug. 25, 2022, the $1,534 "portrait painting" payment in December, and another $6,000 payment to Cooper for "photography services" on March 21, 2023. In total, Baker's campaign has paid Cooper $13,534.49.
Cooper's website says the artist's portrait fees start at $12,000. The last two gubernatorial portraits unveiled at the State House cost considerably more: Gov. Mitt Romney's portrait by Richard Whitney cost $30,000, according to the Boston Herald, and the portrait of Gov. Deval Patrick by Simmie Knox carried a $45,000 price tag, the News Service reported in 2015.
Cooper's portrait of Baker is expected to eventually join those of the governors who preceded him on the walls of the lobby to the executive suite at the State House. For other governors, the portrait unveiling event has served as an administrative reunion of sorts, though Patrick's portrait was unveiled during his final days in office.