"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Sunday, April 3, 2016

George W. Bush

This 2008 portrait of George W. Bush by Robert Anderson hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

"'The biggest advantage and the biggest handicap I have' George W. Bush frankly admitted, 'is my name'. The grandson of a United States senator and the eldest son of a president, Bush was a popular governor of Texas who worked successfully with both Republicans and Democrats. In 2000, in an election so close that it required the intervention of the Supreme Court, Bush defeated Al Gore, the vice president during the previous administration. Expecting that the success of his presidency would hinge, as it had when he was governor, on his negotiating skills and ability to solve problems, Bush found his two terms in office instead marked by a series of cataclysmic events: the attacks on September 11, 2001; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina; and a financial crisis during his last months in office.

The White House selected Robert Anderson, a Connecticut portraitist and a Yale classmate of the president, to create this painting for the National Portrait Gallery." -- National Portrait Gallery
Megan Gambino  says this of the painting:
"The portrait itself is quite informal. The president is sitting casually on the edge of a sofa, and he has a warm, relaxed expression on his face, despite the hardships of his eight years in office.

It might best be described as though he is looking into the eyes of a friend, and, in fact, he was. The artist, Robert Anderson of Darien, Connecticut, was a classmate of President Bush’s at Yale. In his remarks, Bush called Anderson his 'buddy.'

He joked about how making him beautiful would be a bigger task than what Laura Bush’s portraitist Aleksander Titovets was faced with when painting the first lady, the literacy advocate and former teacher and librarian that she is, with a book in hand. 'I needed to find a person who would do the painting that would be a good and forgiving friend,' he said.

Apparently, Anderson easily managed the president’s eyes and hands but had some difficulty when it came to his mouth. President Bush’s response: 'That makes two of us.'"

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