Bush portrait unveiled at White House

EX-US President George Bush returned to the White House where his portrait along with that of former First Lady Laura was unveiled in the presence of Barack Obama.

Washington: Amid humour, tears and nostalgia, Former US President George Bush returned to the White House where his portrait along with that of former First Lady Laura was unveiled in the presence of Barack Obama.

Welcoming his predecessor, Obama described the White House as a living museum and an enduring symbol of American democracy.

"But at the end of the day, when the visitors go home and the lights go down, a few of us are blessed with the tremendous honour to actually live here," he said.

"I think it`s fair to say that every president is acutely aware that we are just temporary residents. We`re renters here. We`re charged with the upkeep until our lease runs out.

"But we also leave a piece of ourselves in this place. And today, with the unveiling of the portraits next to me, President and Mrs Bush will take their place alongside the men and women who`ve built this country and those who worked to perfect it," Obama said.

In the portrait, Bush is seen standing in the centre of the Oval Office, his right hand resting on an armchair made for the White House in 1818 by District of Columbia cabinetmaker William King, Jr.

A corner of the `Resolute desk`, presented to the White House by Queen Victoria in 1880, is seen behind the chair.

Over his right shoulder hangs a 1929 western painting, A Charge to Keep, by William H D Koerner.

The President, who had used the same title for his 1999 memoir, often called attention to that painting and its significance.

"I am pleased, Mr President, that when you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask: What would George do?" Bush said in his brief remarks amidst laughter from the audience.

For the setting of her portrait, Lady Laura Bush selected the Green Room, as refurbished with her active participation in 2007.
The portraits were done by eminent artist John Howard Sanden, who is well known for his portraits of leaders of industry and education.

PTI