© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

National Portrait Gallery Honors Nancy Reagan; Funeral Is Friday

Two women look at a portrait of Nancy Reagan hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
Susan Walsh
Two women look at a portrait of Nancy Reagan hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

Reagan Red is on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, which is honoring Nancy Reagan, who died on Sunday at age 94.

The era of Reagan Red began when her husband Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th U.S. president in 1981.

"Mrs. Reagan's ensemble that day was in that particular shade of scarlet that would from that moment on be known as Reagan Red," Town & Country magazine reports.

The stylish former first lady was often photographed wearing that color – red dresses, red gowns, red suits and red coats.

In the National Portrait Gallery's In Memoriamgallery, a portrait by the late artist Aaron Shikler depicts the first lady standing casually while wearing a red dress.

The portrait, which dates from 1984-85, was featured on the cover of Time on Jan. 14, 1985.

The magazine donated the portrait to the Smithsonian, which will be on display to the public through March 28.

Shikler, who died last year, also painted a portrait of Reaganin a red gown that hangs at the White House.

A funeral for the former first lady will be held on Friday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif., according to Monday's announcement by the Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.

The White House announced that first lady Michelle Obama will be among those attending the private funeral.

In addition, President Obama ordered flags flown at half-staff.

Prior to the funeral, Nancy Reagan will lie in repose for public visitation on Wednesday and Thursday, the foundation said.

After Friday's funeral, she will be buried next to her husband at the library.

Ronald Reagan died in 2004 at age 93.

Even though the Reagan Library closed after Nancy Reagan's death was announced, mourners congregated outside the building to pay their respects.

Julia Berman of Westlake Village, Calif., told the Los Angeles Timesthat she admired Nancy Reagan's "elegance and social graces" – adding, "She wore that Reagan Red so well."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Doreen McCallister
Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!