spacer George Bush George Bush (born 1924)
Forty-first President (1989-1993)

In the early 1960s, George Bush presided over a thriving oil business in Houston, Texas. Had he continued with that enterprise, his then-modest fortune might have grown immense. Instead, he turned to politics. By 1980, when he was elected Ronald Reagan's Vice President, he had served as ambassador to the United Nations, envoy to China, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the process, White House aspirations had taken hold, and in 1988, thanks largely to his identification with the popular Reagan, he claimed the presidency.

Bush proved most sure-footed in foreign policy, where, according to one observer, he proved a master of both "timing and substance." More widely traveled than any other President, he managed the policy transitions prompted by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Perhaps his greatest success was the alliance he crafted to thwart Iraq's forceful takeover of Kuwait in 1990.

Bush sat for this portrait at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The picture's backdrop, however, is the East Room of the White House. Among artist Ron Sherr's aims in this portrait was to balance the formality of the composition with a warmth capable of drawing the viewer into the picture.

Ron Sherr (born 1952)
Oil on canvas, 1995
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Krueger

Enlarged image