That smudge on the official portrait former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled at the Capitol on Monday?
A scrubbed-out image of Maria Shriver, Schwarzenegger’s estranged wife.
The portrait, painted years ago by artist Gottfried Helnwein, originally included an image of Shriver’s face on a lapel pin, Clay Russell, a former Schwarzenegger aide, said Thursday.
He said the portrait was done in Schwarzenegger’s first term and sat openly on an easel in his Oak Productions office in Santa Monica.
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“Tons and tons of people came through that office,” Russell said. “It’s not as if this thing was done and put under wraps. It was out in the open.”
The New York Post first reported late Wednesday that the splotch was the product of Schwarzenegger ordering the image of Shriver deleted from the work of art.
Schwarzenegger and Shriver separated in 2011, amid revelations that Schwarzenegger fathered a child with a member of his household staff, a fact he kept secret for more than a decade.
It was unclear how the painting was altered, or by whom. A Schwarzenegger spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
“Whoever touched it up did not do a very good job,” the Post quoted Capitol tour guide Richard Granis as saying. “It was softball sized, right there on his left lapel.”
Granis said Thursday he was misquoted but declined to comment further, except to say, “Once the portrait is up, people can make their own opinions.”