What makes McNaughton’s painting more than a mere curiosity is that he’s developed a huge following on the American right. He’s got the endorsement of Sean Hannity, who frequently posts his new work. (He seems to do a good business selling various prints and reproductions of his paintings to right-wing Republicans – on that front, good for him.) His work has also been lampooned on various mainstream TV shows and websites. Shortly after President Trump’s election he even got this write-up by the art critic of The New Yorker. Like so much of the right today, perhaps half of the effort is to goad non-conservatives into histrionics slugfests which confirms and perpetuates a critical sense of aggrievement.
McNaughton first broke out, as it were, with this 2010 painting called The Forgotten Man, which he says was inspired by the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The title is likely a play on this 1934 painting of the same name by Maynard Dixon. The Forgotten Man got another burst of press just after the 2016 election when Sean Hannity purchased the original painting. Originally he seemed into gifting it to President Trump to hang in the White House.