ST. PAUL (AP) -- Rudy and Lola Perpich are together again in a new gubernatorial portrait that went on display Tuesday in the Capitol, another first by a politician remembered for his unconventional ways.
The portrait, which replaces one of the late governor standing in front of an open-pit mine, is the first to include a spouse. It took Perpich, his family and friends about a decade to get.
Lola Perpich said it fulfills one of her husband's final wishes.
''It was more of his (wish) to have me in it, but now it becomes more of mine because I know he wanted it so badly,'' she said.
Artist Mark Balma, of Minneapolis, modeled the portrait after a controversial photograph-turned-portrait that Perpich once tried to have installed in the Capitol.
It shows the pair in the governor's reception room, which the Perpiches worked to restore to its original appearance. Lola Perpich is depicted in a royal blue dress seated with her smiling husband beside her.
Rudy Perpich Jr. said his father's smirk is the kind he displayed when he accomplished something few thought he could. Perpich helped bring the Mall of America to Bloomington and an arts school to Golden Valley.
Perpich was Minnesota's longest-serving governor, holding office from 1976 to 1979 -- when he filled out the term of Wendell Anderson after he moved to the U.S. Senate -- and again from 1983 to 1991.
Perpich died of cancer Sept. 21, 1995. He would have turned 72 on Tuesday.
After his abbreviated first term, the original Perpich portrait went on display on the ground floor of the Capitol. The iron ore mine symbolized his Iron Range roots.
Following his defeat in 1990, Perpich tried to get a second portrait -- one with his wife in it -- installed in the Capitol. Because he served two nonconsecutive terms, Perpich argued that he deserved two portraits.
In 1998, his family and friends finally persuaded the Legislature to authorize the new portrait of him and Lola, provided the work was ''museum quality'' and privately financed. Mark Dayton, the department store heir and economic development commissioner under Perpich, provided $25,000 toward the art work.
State Rep. Tom Rukavina, who sponsored the portrait bill, said it captures the Perpiches perfectly because they worked in tandem on many things.
''He had enough guts to set another trend,'' said Rukavina, DFL-Virginia. ''He had enough guts to tell the whole state and the world that 'They weren't my ideas, they were her ideas, too.' Behind every good politician is a good spouse.''
The Capitol has 36 portraits, one for each governor. Before Tuesday, the most recent installation was of Gov. Arne Carlson in Oct. 1999.
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