Munn's success with "The Presidents" led her to a related, and equally ambitious project, "The First Ladies." Her research on the Presidents revealed many interesting and unfamiliar facts about the President's wives, and their personal lives and tribulations. Munn's admiration of Pat Nixon and Lady Bird Johnson first piqued her interest in their personas and her desire to acknowledge the stature of these seemingly overlooked public figures. Munn realized that these wives of important men were frequently under-appreciated, and deserved the artistic salutations that their husbands always enjoyed.
"The First Ladies," like "The Presidents," is also a psychological study into the personalities of each individual, and how they presented themselves to the public, and is a social history of clothing fashion and hair styles. In addition, her research revealed many censored facts about lovers, mistresses, children, and male lovers of the various Commanders in Chief (and their wives), and Munn realized that this must also be acknowledged.
"The First Ladies" premiered in the Madison Avenue windows of the Barney's NY department store in the weeks prior to the 2008 Presidential election and created great interest, and an interview with Munn and the paintings appeared on CNN news. This generated a bit of controversy, because some viewers thought that Munn's portrait of Michelle Obama was much more flattering than that of opponent Cindy McCain, and charged Barney's with promoting a political agenda by placing the two competing "first ladies elect" front and center in the display windows. The furor quickly died down with the election of Barack Obama as President.
Richard D. Marshall