In the early 1960s, George H. W. Bush presided over a thriving oil business in Houston, Texas, but then 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 1988, he won the presidency.
Bush proved 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 was to balance the formality of the composition with a warmth capable of drawing the viewer into the picture.