In Death, Salinger Gets the Spotlight

Posted February 1, 2010 at 3:46pm

For decades prior to his Jan. 27 death, J.D. Salinger had not been seen in public. The author, equally famous for his reclusiveness as for his 1951 literary masterpiece, “The Catcher in the Rye,— stopped giving interviews in 1980.

But the public can now view a portrait of the late writer on the first floor of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Portraitist Robert Vickery painted a young Salinger against a backdrop that appears to show a child balancing on the edge of a cliff, one of the recurring themes in “The Catcher in the Rye.— The image appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1961.