Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is returning to City Hall.
The 41st mayor's official portrait is complete and will soon rise on the 26th-floor gallery, home to the city's mayoral paintings, officials said this week.
City leaders are keeping tight-lipped about the painting, which was done by artist Artis Lane over two sessions last year. An arts commission vote to formally approve the Villaraigosa painting was slated for Thursday, but the agenda item was pulled after inquiries by the Daily News and others.
Matthew Rudnick, interim director of the city's Cultural Affairs Department, said the commission was worried photos would leak from Thursday's meeting. The official unveiling is expected in the next six months, and "we wanted to respect the process," he said.
The department paid $15,000 for the oil painting, which will join those of Mayor James Hahn, a press-shy leader whose portrait shows him looking off into the distance, and Mayor Tom Bradley, whose image is bathed in warm colors.
A city agenda outlining Thursday's meeting gives some clues about Villaraigosa's portrait. "His (dark) suit is buttoned snuggly over a white shirt with a tie of very warm light purple hue," the agenda reads. The "eyes exhibit wrinkles, characteristic of a large smile, yet the mouth remains level."
He also sports an American flag pin on his left lapel. Los Angeles-based Canadian painter and sculptor Artis Lane said in an interview Wednesday that Villaraigosa insisted on the pin. She painted the mayor at both the Getty House -- the L.A. mayor's official residence -- and her Hancock Park studio.
"He has this youthful zest for life," said Lane, adding she sought to capture Villaraigosa's "metaphysical" elements. During their sessions, the two spent hours talking about Villaraigosa's childhood growing up in East L.A. and his family.
"When he loves someone, he really loves them," said Lane, who has also painted onetime GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former L.A. Mayor Bradley. "That love can transcend into universal love -- love of the city, love of the country.
"He is at ease with women because he was raised by his mother."
In all, 34 portraits of Los Angeles mayors adorn City Hall's 26th floor. Tourists, often seen rushing past the paintings, generally seem more interested in the views from the nearby observation towers.
Villaraigosa praised Lane in a brief interview Wednesday, calling her "one of the greatest artists of our time.
"I'm honored she did my official portrait."
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Original headline: Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa portait complete, bound for Los Angeles City Hall
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