As part of our ongoing effort to share the operation of the National Portrait Gallery with our readers, here is a short Q and A with one of our staff members, Lizanne Reger.
Q: As the National Portrait Gallery’s rights and reproductions coordinator, what does your job entail?
A: I primarily license the reproduction of images from the collection for scholarly publications, film, and the web. I work with the public on requests for reproduction for personal/research images and with our licensing agent in New York, who handles the large-scale print reproductions (textbooks, etc.). I also work with artists whose work is in the collection—and with their representatives—when handling requests that have copyright issues. I also work with NPG’s photographer to ensure that we have record photography of our collection. Occasionally, I’ll work with Smithsonian Enterprises on products featuring NPG collections for the gift shop.
Q: Where did you go to college and what is your training?
A: I graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where I received a B.A. in art history. I do have a photography background, but primarily my training comes from working in the R&R office before taking over as the R&R coordinator. I’m the only one in the office so I’m the coordinator as well as my own assistant. Thankfully, I’ve had several interns over the years who’ve helped me. Actually, I need a new one for the spring, if anyone is interested!
Q: How long have you lived in Washington?
A: Eight years this summer.
Q: What is your favorite portrait in our collection and why?
A: I have several “favorites” depending on which exhibition or department, but my new favorite is Ben Bernanke by Mark Wagner (shown at right, S/NPG.2010.57). The piece is a currency collage of $1 bills. You have to see it in person. A reproduction does not do it justice; plus it is copyright restricted.
Q: What is the most unusual or interesting request you have had come across your desk?
A: Several years ago, I received a request to use one of our images as a hologram in U.S. passports. It required that we provide very large digital files of multiple views of the object. The image was then encrypted for security purposes so that it could not be forged. They didn’t tell me much more than that; it was TOP SECRET!
Ben Bernanke / Mark Wagner / Currency collage on panel, 2009 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; © Mark Wagner