A Lawrence businessman says he has been getting "very warm receptions" this week at public showings in Chicago and Kansas City of an oil portrait representing the World War II friendships of American and Russian soldiers.
About 250 people attended a showing Tuesday of the painting, "Spirit of the Elbe," in Kansas City, Mo., said Bob Swan, who commissioned the painting from Anne Burgess Rowe, a portrait artist.
"We hope it will be an enduring symbol of the friendship between the American people and the Russian people," Swan said.
The painting is based on a Life magazine photo of an American and a Soviet soldier embracing as their forces linked up on April 25, 1945, at the Elbe River in Germany.
Swan, a Lawrence businessman who has been involved for several years with people-to-people exchanges between the United States and the former Soviet Union, plans to take the painting to Washington, D.C., for a showing Thursday. He plans to take it Friday to a reception at the United Nations Building in New York City.
The painting, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Elbe River meeting, will be taken to Germany next week and presented May 9 in Moscow. Swan said he hoped it would eventually hang in the World War II Museum in Moscow.
The first public viewing of the painting was late last week, when Swan took it to Russell to show it to U.S. Sen. Bob Dole during the GOP presidential candidate's visit to his hometown.
The painting was also shown in Chicago on Monday.
Swan said prints of the painting will be given to Russian President Boris Yeltsin and President Bill Clinton. He said a print also will go to the U.S. Archives.