Republican George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore, but became president after a protracted period of ballot recounting, the legitimacy of which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court. During his first year in office, the apocalyptic terrorist attacks of 9/11 disrupted the nation’s sense of security and ushered in a new era of war on global terrorism. The Bush administration swiftly mounted military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. During his second term, Bush faced domestic crises that significantly impacted his legacy. His administration’s slow response to the massive devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and to the cataclysmic financial crisis of 2008 caused widespread outrage and sparked interest in change. Bush selected Connecticut portraitist Robert Anderson, with whom he attended Yale University, to create this painting for the National Portrait Gallery. The president requested an informal image, posing in shirtsleeves at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.


  • Title: George W. Bush
  • Creator: Robert A. Anderson
  • Date Created: 2008
  • Physical Dimensions: Stretcher: 132.4 x 92.7cm (52 1/8 x 36 1/2")
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift ofAmerican Fidelity Foundation, J. Thomas and Stefanie Atherton, William S. and Ann Atherton, Dr. Jon C. and Jane G. Axton, Dr. Lee and Sherry Beasley, Thomas A. Cellucci, A. James Clark, Richard
  • External Link: https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.2008.51
  • Classification: Painting

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