American realist oil painter, Nathan Loda, has created a modern portrait of a young George Washington with a simultaneous remembrance of things past. Modeled after the iconic Athenaeum Portrait of Washington featured on our one dollar bill, Loda’s portrait achieves a luminous quality by rendering a Grisaille – a sienna, blue, and white underpainting – before glazing the portrait with thin layers of oil paint. Young Washington materialized as Loda added each layer, tweaking facial features and introducing new accessories. The result is a character with an uncanny resemblance to our Founding Distiller, as if he were 25 years old and in vogue.
Loda maintained trademark features like Washington’s heavy eyelids and familiar half-smile, while updating his look with more contemporary components like a sensational “man bun.” Additionally, he layered on a collection of present-day statement accessories, such as a leather monogramed bracelet, Wayfarer sunglasses, and of course, a tumbler of Founding Farmers Rye Whiskey.
We commissioned this piece to represent our hopeful vision of a young Washington today, which in our world view would be a Washington who would have evolved to align with our condemning of slavery and acknowledgment of the awfulness and tragedy of the countless injustices put upon enslaved people. Our restaurant pays tribute to our first president while simultaneously recognizing his participation in our country’s history of slavery and its continuing ramifications.
This is not the first painting Loda has created for Farmers Restaurant Group. He is also the artist behind the striking Headless Horse host-stand artwork found at Founding Farmers Tysons. For Loda, each FRG project is an opportunity to make an imaginative concept come to life. “I really enjoy working with the Farmers Restaurant Group team. I am so impressed that they’re willing to invest in one-of-a-kind pieces by local artists.”
Nathan Loda is a Vienna, VA native. He received his MFA from George Mason University in 2015 and a BFA in painting from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV in 2011. During his studies, Loda took numerous trips to Latin America, visiting Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and also studied abroad at the Lamar Dodd School of Art in Cortona, Italy. Loda’s family enjoys spending time together at their farm in Central New York.