Former Gov. Mark Dayton's portrait links him to the State Capitol he helped restore

A man holds his son by the shoulders and looks at a painting.
Eric Dayton tries to get his son Hugo, 6, to look at the official portrait of his grandfather, Gov. Mark Dayton, that will hang inside of the Capitol on Thursday.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Former Gov. Mark Dayton returned to the Minnesota State Capitol Thursday for the unveiling of his official portrait in which the Capitol itself glows behind him.

The painting by Minnesota artist Paul Oxborough depicts the state’s 40th governor in dark suit, standing outside the Capitol on a sunny, winter day. It will remain on permanent display along with the 39 governors who preceded Dayton.

During a ceremony, Dayton said he was a reluctant to have his portrait painted until he met Oxborough.

“As everyone in this room knows, I’m not easy. Paul said that no subject likes his or her portrait. But he graciously tolerated my endless suggestions until I finally realized that the portrait’s deficiencies were not with the artist but with the subject,” Dayton said.

Dayton noted the prominence of the Capitol in the painting and said he remains proud of his role in its renovation.

“I really like the idea of highlighting the Capitol. This fabulous renovation will shine long after I’m gone, and I would like to be remembered for chairing the commission which guided it throughout.”

The Minnesota Historical Society will hang the painting Friday in the same ground floor hallway where portraits of former Govs. Tim Pawlenty and Jesse Ventura are located.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.