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November 20, 2018

Here's that $85,000 portrait of Chris Christie

The painting of the former New Jersey governor is the most expensive commissioned in the state's history

The official portrait of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, which came with a taxpayer-funded price of $85,000, was unveiled Monday night.

The portrait depicts Christie standing at the wood lectern he used to address media in the governor's outer office. There are a couple of personal details as well, including the letters "STTS" etched on the side of the lectern to stand for "Stronger Than The Storm," a reference to 2012's Hurricane Sandy.

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Christie is also shown wearing the same tie he wore when he was first inaugurated in 2010.

The portrait gained some notoriety earlier this year when Australian artist Paul Newton was commissioned for the job; Newton's previous commissions include Pope Benedict XVI, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and dozens of other impressive subjects. The price tag for Christie's high-brow company means the portrait ended up costing about $10,000 more than the last three New Jersey governors' portraits — combined.

Before Christie's painting, the most expensive New Jersey governor portrait had been created for Jim Florio, which cost $58,000 — about $30,000 less than Newton's latest work.

The portrait is paid for from a taxpayer-funded account of $250,000 that is allocated for every exiting governor, to be used for office space, staff, and other items, including the official state portrait.

Christie unveiled the portrait during a private ceremony at Princeton's Morven Museum and Garden on Monday night. The portrait will later hang in the New Jersey State House when renovations are complete and it reopens in 2022.

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