PHOTOPHILE- Interest rate: Greenspan lauded at Monticello<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp; </span>

The symbol of the American stock market, a man whose every word captivated investors through the turbulent and high-flying 1990s (and whose mug later adorned their walls, thanks to a local artist), came to Monticello Friday, April 13, to accept the Thomas Jefferson Foundation's first Citizen Leadership medal.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greespan, 81, was appointed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and served until he retired last year. Unlike the chairman who preceded him (Paul A.Volker) and the one who followed (Ben Bernanke), Greenspan became as much a celebrity as a government economist.

That had a lot to do with the Internet boom in the mid-'90s, during which– thanks in large part to the creation of online trading– millions of Americans began playing the market and looking to Greenspan for signs of where it was headed week to week.

In fact, Greenspan's face became so familiar that when UVA art student Erin Crowe painted a series of unauthorized portraits of him in 2003 as part of a local arts festival with a money theme, they sold faster than early shares of Google. In 2005, Crowe organized a "Good-bye to Greenspan" show at a family friend's gallery in Sag Harbor, N.Y., a plush enclave that plays host to many Wall Street heavyweights. In just a week, she had sold all 18 of her Greenspans for between $1,000 and $4,000 each, caught the attention of the national media, and was receiving requests for commissioned portraits of the Wall Street sage. 

Apparently, interest in portraits of the droopy-eyed economist hasn't wavered. Crowe, currently studying in London, says she has sold 32 more paintings since then, one for as much as $150,000 (which went to charity). She was recently flown to Hong Kong for a Greenspan show, where she was asked to paint some of China's financial gurus. She has also received her first order for a Bernanke.

"There is a cult of Greenspan," says Crowe. "I hit a nerve and am still surprised by the continued responses I get." 

Crowe says she has never met Greenspan, but that may be just as well.

"I think I may have scared the poor man," she says. "I've heard he's a little camera shy, and I can only imagine what he thought of my capitalizing on his media image. Or worse yet, I sometimes worry about what his wife might have thought." 

In a private late-afternoon ceremony at the West Portico of Monticello on April 13, Jefferson's 264th birthday, UVA president John Casteen paid tribute to Greenspan as the sun was setting.

"I wish I could have been there to see him," says Crowe. "But I've sworn not to paint him any more... so perhaps it's best I didn't let myself get tempted."

UVA president John Casteen

Waiting for the presentation

Casteen confers with Greenspan

The man who moved markets

Monticello executive director Dan Jordan

Greenspan's wife, NBC journalist Andrea Mitchell, enjoys the festivities.

Tulips were blooming on Monticello mountain.




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Even I have better things to do than you do, apparently.

You ought to read his story about being a proud, honest, gun-carrying agent of the IRS, and hearing from time to time about how the levying of income taxes was never legalized in America because the sixteenth Amendment was never properly ratified by Congress, how he didnt' believe it at first, until he studied up on the actual laws and court cases, found it to be entirely true, quit his job to instead dedicate his time to exposing the truth about the IRS and the Federal Bank, and being prosecuted by the IRS, only to be acquitted by a jury. After all, everyone knows why Roosevelt stopped allowing gold to be exchanged for US currency, and everyone knows how much our dollar is worth compared to before he and the people he worked for decided we should work for the paper their machines printed.

I don't really care who it was, I just know it was wrong of him to do, and foolish of the American people not to hang him on the spot for even proposing such a scheme, let alone attempting it.

John G. I've been searching every thread for you. Please give me a call. I didn't mean it when I said I was beginning to doubt the U.S. government is responsible for EVERY problem in the world. I'll bring the roses and wine if you pick up the phone and call me.

I believe Woody Harrelson's dad shot Kennedy . . . I do!