A decade after leaving office, former Vice President Dan Quayle will return to Capitol Hill next Wednesday for the unveiling of a life-size marble bust in his likeness.
The statue, the 44th added to the Senate’s vice presidential bust collection, will be displayed inside the Senate Reception Room, directly across from Quayle’s vice presidential predecessor, former President George H.W. Bush.
The collection took root in 1885 when the Senate commissioned a bust of Henry Wilson, the nation’s 18th vice president, who served under President Ulysses S. Grant.
The following year, the Senate approved a resolution allowing the Joint Committee on the Library to commission additional busts.
In 1947, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee inherited responsibility for the program and continues to provide oversight for it today, although the vice presidents typically select the artists themselves after leaving office.
Work on the newest statue actually began in 1998, when the former Republican Senator from Indiana selected Frederick Hart to create the plaster model, the first stage of the sculpture.
The South Carolina artist, widely known for his “The Three Servicemen” sculpture on display at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, had earlier completed a statue of Sen. Richard Russell (D-Ga.) for the Senate office building bearing his name, and a bronze likeness of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.).
Quayle sat for the model in Hume, Va., but Hart died from lung cancer in 1999, before he could finish.
Hart’s assistant, Jeffrey Hall, completed the plaster model, making necessary adjustments before it was presented to stone-carver Vincent Palumbo, who had worked on the National Cathedral.
But tragedy would strike again: Palumbo died in 2000 from a rare form of leukemia, before beginning any work on the sculpture.
New York artist Daniel Sinclair was then tapped to complete the project, which, in addition to his signature, bears those of both Hart and Hall.
Quayle, along with Vice President Cheney and the elder Bush, are scheduled to attend the invitation-only unveiling ceremony, which begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.
Rules and Administration Chairman Trent Lott (R-Miss.) praised Quayle’s service in a statement announcing the ceremony.
“Vice President Quayle has had what the poet John Greenleaf Whittier called ‘the safe appeal of truth to time,’” Lott said. “He was right about many things: about the downside of big government, about what Ronald Reagan called the Evil Empire, about the Strategic Defense System that saved Israel from Iraqi missiles during the Gulf War, and about the crucial role of the family in everything from economic growth to welfare reform.”
Because the Senate allows the vice presidents to initiate the process for adding a bust, the sculptures are not always added in chronological order.
Although he resigned from office in 1973, Spiro Agnew’s likeness didn’t join the collection until 1995, four years after that of former President Bush was installed.
An aide for the Rules and Administration Committee said a sculpture depicting former Vice President Al Gore has been discussed, but could not provide additional details as to its status.