The tradition of commissioning California's gubernatorial portraits began in 1879, when the State Legislature selected artist William Cogswell to paint portraits of several former governors. In 1931 the practice was codified, as a section was added to the Government Code authorizing funds from the state budget be used to produce portraits for all governors. The code specifies that portraits be commissioned after governors retire from office, are oil-based, framed, and hung in appropriate spaces within the Capitol building.
These guidelines were not enough to prevent some gubernatorial portraits from causing a stir. In 1947, Governor C. C. Young broke with the custom of portraying a serious pose by having the artist, Hans Meyer Kasell, paint him outdoors and smiling. And in 1984, artist Don Bachardy departed from the established realistic style and painted Governor Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr., in a more abstract style.
Earlier governors are represented in portraits throughout the Capitol's hallways and museum rooms. If you are interested in viewing all of the Governors' portraits since 1850, visit the Governors Portrait Gallery.