Herbert E. Abrams, a prolific artist famous for painting the portraits of U.S. presidents, died on Aug. 29 of prostate cancer. He was 82.
Abrams studied at the Norwich Art School then became a pilot during World War II. During his time in the service, he redesigned the Army Air Force’s aircraft insignia, which has appeared on every plane since 1942. Later, he taught art classes at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
After the war, Abrams studied at the Pratt Institute and the Art Students’ League in New York City. While sitting on a bench in Greenwich Village, he received $35 for his first portrait commission. This sparked a four-decade career during which Abrams completed over 400 paintings.
Although he painted famous people, like astronaut Buzz Aldrin and playwright Arthur Miller, Abrams was best known for doing portraits of President George H.W. Bush and President Jimmy Carter.