Gerald R. Ford, captured for poster - to the White House yesterday - to stay.

He joined 36 of his predecessors and will, in a kind of musical portraits, take over the prominent spot in with bowed head.

The 38th president was visibly moved by the simple acceptance ceremony presided over by the 39th president, in which his official White House portrait and that of his wife, Betty, were presented to the nation by the White House Historical Association.

Jimmy Carter's words of welcome were warm and generous. Ford, he said, was one of his "good friends, advisers and counselors" who had helped him with difficult decisions.

He was also "a man who came to lead our nation in the time of crisis and strain. And he brought the capability and the empathy and the knowledge to heal our wounds."

The entire country was indebted to him, Carter continued, "and no one appreciates him more than I do."

Of Mrs. Ford, making her first appearance in Washington since she was treated for alcohol and drug addiction, Carter said she is "perhaps the most popular person in our country . . . who has earned the admiration of our country with her courage and [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]

He had a kiss for her after the ceremony, held in the East Room where Mrs. Carter and 75 Ford friends and the portraits. They rested on easels on a stage positioned in almost the precise spot where Ford was sworn in as president in August 1974.

Guests included the artists, Everett Raymond Kinstler of New York, who did Ford's portrait, and Cuban-born Felix de Cossio, now of Miami, who did Mrs. Ford's.

"It's always a matter of great trepidation when portraits are unveiled," Carter said, mentioning some more notable unveilings when the subjects of those close to them had been less than pleased with the results.

"There was never a moment that we would not accept the fine work by both the artists," said Ford, calling De Cossio's work of Mrs. Ford "a beautiful job." In his case, "considering what Kinstler had to work with, he did very well."

Funds to purchase both works came from the sale of the association's White House guide books. Each portrait cost "under $10,000," according to White House curator Clement E. Conger.

With the Ford portrait taking over the Kennedy spot, the latter portrait moves around the corner into the cross hall where Mamie Eisenhower's portrait has hung. That work, in turn, goes to the East Lobby to join other first ladies on what Conger calls "the tour route."

Mrs. Ford's portrait moves into the ground floor cross hall spot occupied by Jacqueline Kennedy's portrait. Her portrait moves into the position occupied by Elanor Roosevelt's. Conger said he hoped to decide by late yesterday where to put Mrs. Roosevelt.

The White House has portraits of every president except Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter and is looking for [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]