Thursday, March 31, 2011

Artifact Spotlight: Portrait of Rear Admiral James P. Wisecup, 2010

---John Pentangelo, Curator/Registrar
---Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer


Rear Admiral James P. Wisecup
52nd President of the Naval War College
by Gerald P. York, 2010

The Naval War College held a Change of Command ceremony on 30 March 2011 during which Rear Admiral John N. Christenson relieved Rear Admiral James "Phil" Wisecup as President of the Naval War College. As part of tradition, the College commissioned an official presidential portrait of Wisecup which was unveiled prior to the ceremony.

Rear Admiral James P. Wisecup
The framed oil on linen portrait by Gerald P. York depicts Rear Admiral Wisecup in his service dress blue uniform with officer's sword.  The artist, a graduate of Yale College, has painted a number of notable individuals, executives, and public figures. In 1995, Mr. York was selected by the chairman of Sotheby's to paint the official portrait of Yale University President Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.  His painting of Rear Admiral Wisecup is reminiscent of the earliest portraits including the one of the first president, Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, painted by Frederic P. Vinton in 1900.

A sailor and scholar, Rear Admiral Wisecup graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1977.  He earned a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California and was an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Strasbourg in France before graduating from the Naval War College in 1998.  Wisecup held several commands as a surface warfare officer. He has also served as  Director of the White House Situation Room and Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Korea. Immediately before becoming President of the Naval War College on 6 November 2008, he was Commander, Strike Group 7.

Artist Gerald York looks on as RADM Wisecup and his
wife Anne unveil the portrait on 29 March 2011.

As President of the Naval War College, Wisecup inaugurated the Chinese language library for the China Maritime Studies Institute and oversaw the College's 125th anniversary commemoration. He hosted the Current Strategy Fora and co-hosted the Nineteenth International Seapower Symposium which was the largest gathering of naval leadership in world history. Wisecup will serve as the next Navy Inspector General and has been confirmed for appointment to the rank of vice admiral.

The presidency of the Naval War College is one of four positions within the U.S. Navy that has an official portrait associated with the position. The others are Superintendent of the Naval Academy, Chief of Naval Operations, and Secretary of the Navy. While there are ten former presidents not represented in the collection, the museum has a complete collection of oil portraits depicting every president since 1939. To learn more about the presidents and their portraits view the catalogue for the recent exhibit, Faces of the Naval War College.

1. Naval War College Museum
2. U.S. Navy Photograph
3. U.S. Navy Photograph by MCC Robert Inverso

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