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About

Joseph W. Barr (1968 - 1969)

As Under Secretary (1965 - 1968) to Secretary of the Treasury Henry H. Fowler, Joseph W. Barr (1918 - 1996) was the Johnson Administration spokesman before Congress. When Fowler resigned in December 1968, Barr was appointed Secretary to serve the remaining month of President Johnson's incumbency. He was characterized by a New York Times reporter as "a kind of Rexford Guy Tugwell of New Deal days who does not accept that the law of supply and demand is an immutable economic dictum that must work at all times and in all circumstances." As Secretary, Barr coined the phrase "taxpayer's revolt" to describe the rising sentiment, in and out of Congress, for tax reform.

Portrait of Joseph W. Barr.

Sec. Joseph W. Barr
Casimir Gregory Stapko
Oil on canvas
1969
55 1/2 x 45 1/2 x 1 1/2"
P.1969.1

A later Secretary, William Simon, said of Barr that he was the first to realize that the tax system was too complicated for normal individuals. Barr resigned at the end of Johnson's term to become President of the American Security Trust Company in Washington.

About the Artist

Born in Milwaukee in 1913, Casimir Gregory Stapko (1913 - 2006) quit school after the eighth grade and apprenticed himself to an artist who specialized in decorating churches. After spending several years adorning clerical walls, laying mosaic floors, and painting murals, Stapko found work as a copyist. In the 1940's he was hired by New York publishers of fine-art books to make copies of masterpieces hanging in the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He has since made copies of many famous portraits and is represented in the collections of the State Department, the United States Embassy in Peru, and the White House. Stapko painted his portrait of Joseph W. Barr in 1969 from three or four life sittings in Barr's office in the Treasury Building.

 
Last Updated: 11/20/2010 9:49 AM

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