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Oklahoma City Museum of Art celebrates President’s Day every day with rare painting

OKLAHOMA CITY - Tucked away on the third floor of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is a valuable piece of history.

"Our Charles Wilson Peale depiction of George Washington is one of the more real depictions of the president," said Michael Anderson, director of curatorial affairs OKCMOA.

It shows the first U.S. president much differently than what you see on the $1 bill.

"Scar on his cheek. He has kind of pock marks. He has a receding hairline because he's in his 40s at this point," Anderson said.

It's one of Washington’s first ever paintings during his time as a general before becoming our first president.

"This is what George Washington actually looked like. So, this was really valuing egalitarian values," Anderson said.

So, how did the prized piece make it's way to the OKCMOA? It all started in 1956 with a campaign by the Oklahoma Art League.

"By the mid 1950s, the thinking was, okay, Oklahoma City's becoming a major city in the United States. We need a major work of art. We need a major museum," Anderson said.

The first museum of art was located at the Civic Center.

Many people donated just $1. Until the $8,500 was met.

"What's really interesting about the campaign is that no one gave more than $1,000, so that's unprecedented with most museum acquisitions,” Anderson said.

Remembering the founding father this President's Day who helped paint the picture for one of Oklahoma’s great museums.

It's one of 18 copies of the piece, although he went on to paint Washington from life more than any other artist.

Right now, it's on third floor but will be moving to the second floor next Friday.

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