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During the winter holidays, visitors will have the first chance to view the portraits of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush commissioned for the National Portrait Gallery. The President and First Lady will unveil the portraits in a private ceremony at the museum Friday, Dec. 19. The paintings will be on public view beginning Dec. 20. This is the first time that the Portrait Gallery will present the official likenesses of a sitting president and first lady.
“It is always a great moment for the National Portrait Gallery to unveil the portraits of presidents and first ladies,” said Martin E. Sullivan, director of the museum. “I am thrilled that the museum is able to install these two works while President Bush is in the White House.”
Robert Anderson was selected by the White House to paint the President’s portrait. Anderson was a classmate of Bush’s at Yale University and received his training in fine arts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. A professional portraitist based in Darien, Conn., Anderson has also painted a portrait of Bush for the Yale Club in New York. Bush’s portrait will be installed in the exhibition “America’s Presidents,” among those of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and George H.W. Bush.
Aleksander Titovets was selected by the White House to paint Mrs. Bush’s portrait. Titovets is a native Russian painter who now lives in El Paso, Texas. Trained at the St. Petersburg State University College of Fine Arts, he specializes in figurative and landscape painting inspired by his native Russia as well as the landscape of the Southwest. Initially, the portrait of Mrs. Bush will be hung on the first floor in the north hall of the National Portrait Gallery.
President Bush’s portrait was funded by a generous group of supporters: American Fidelity Foundation, William S. and Ann Atherton, J. Thomas and Stefanie Atherton, Dr. Jon C. and Jane G. Axton, Thomas A. Cellucci, A. James Clark, Richard H. Collins, Edward and Kaye Cook, Don and Alice Dahlgren, Mr. and Mrs. James L. Easton, Robert Edmund, Robert and Nancy Payne Ellis, Dr. Tom and Cheryl Hewett, Dr. Dodge and Lori Hill, Pete and Shelley Kourtis, Dr. Lee and Sherry Beasley, Tom and Judy Love, David L. McCombs, Tom and Brenda McDaniel, Herman and LaDonna Meinders, The Norick Family, Kenneth and Gail Ochs, Robert and Sylvia Slater, Richard L. Thurston, Lew and Myra Ward, Dr. James and Susan Wendelken and Jim and Jill Williams.
Mrs. Bush’s portrait was funded by Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Stewart of El Paso, TX.
The National Portrait Gallery
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.
The Portrait Gallery holds the nation’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House.
The National Portrait Gallery opened to the public in 1968. The museum’s collection of more than 20,000 works and includes paintings, sculpture, photographs, drawings and new media. The National Portrait Gallery is housed in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000; (202) 633-5285 (TTY). Web site: npg.si.edu.
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Note to editors: Images for publicity may be downloaded from a password-protected FTP site after the portraits are unveiled. Call (202) 633-8295 for information to access the site.