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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The National Portrait Gallery Unveils Laura Bush

By the Queen of Free
She is pretty, no doubt, but the painting makes her appear about 20 pounds slimmer than the photos of her I have seen over the years. My, what a slender neck you have!

Perhaps the artist, Aleksander Titovets, a native-born Russian who lives in Texas and paints Southwestern landscapes among other subjects, wanted to flatter his subject.

Which brings to mind: Why was a Russian-born artist selected for the commission anyway? Texas does not have American-born painters who do portraits? Just asking. Perhaps he is friends with fellow El Paso residents, the J. O. Stewarts, who donated the painting saving taxpayers $40,000, reported CNSNews.

Whatever. The painting is too busy: An arched window with panes opening to what is likely the Treasury building, a bowl of fully opened salmon colored roses, a color which is repeated throughout the painting with handsome effects, and two (that is two) chairs with conflicting patterns all compete to almost smother Mrs. Bush, who sits with open book in hand in one of the chairs smiling (almost with her husband’s smirk) at the viewer.

Please, I need to catch my breath!

Breaking up the cacophony is a long camel-colored drape hanging behind her which outlines (on one side) a blank wall in the upper left quarter of the painting. It is the only section without objects.

With its warm, pastel colors, the portrait is a nice, harmless impressionistic style much like Mrs. Bush herself, I would imagine. To brighten any room, it is one I am certain the First Family would welcome in their new Texas home.

Mrs. Bush hangs on the first floor to the left of the entrance on G Street, catercorner from the gift shop. Yes, worth a trip! Happily, the Portrait Gallery is open daily until 6:50 p.m., but it starts later than most museums: 11:30 a.m.

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