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George H. W. Bush

Title George H. W. Bush
Artist/Maker Walker Kirtland Hancock ( 1901   -   1998 )  
Date Modeled 1990, Carved 1990
Medium Marble
Dimensions h. 24.5 x w. 20.88 x d. 12.25 in. (h. 62.2 x w. 53 x d. 31.1 cm)
Credit Line U.S. Senate Collection
Accession Number 22.00042.000

  • Object Description
  • This marble bust of George H. W. Bush was formally unveiled on June 27, 1991. Bush was one of 14 vice presidents to become president and the only sitting chief executive to watch as his vice presidential portrait was dedicated. Commissioned by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, the bust was the 42nd to be included in the Senate’s Vice Presidential Bust Collection.

    President Bush sat for renowned sculptor and octogenarian Walker Hancock, a long-standing friend of the Bush family, at the White House in 1989. Hancock worked from measurements and from 125 photographs he took during the sitting, adding final touches later that year at Camp David. Noting Bush’s “very fine head,” the artist called his subject’s features “very strong and sculptural.” [1] The life-size bust was modeled by Hancock in clay, and a plaster cast made. It was carved in Carrara marble in Pietrasanta, Italy, and unveiled at the Capitol the day before Hancock’s 90th birthday.

    Dedicated to understanding and expressing the character of his subjects, Hancock received much acclaim and many awards. He gained wide attention for the Stone Mountain Memorial outside Atlanta, Georgia, a 69-foot-high bas-relief memorializing Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. He also created the 40-foot bronze Pennsylvania Railroad War Memorial in Philadelphia. Among Hancock’s numerous portrait sculptures are busts of Vice Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Hubert Humphrey, which are also in the Senate’s Vice Presidential Bust Collection.

    1. Donnie Radcliffe, "The Unveiling of the Finely Chiseled George Bush," Washington Post, 25 June 1991.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
  • Signature (on base under subject's truncated right arm): WALKER HANCOCK 1990
  • Sitter(s)
  • Bush, George H. W.

    George Herbert Walker Bush, 43rd vice president and 41st president of the United States, entered politics following a career as an oil development executive in Texas. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, Bush was elected as a Republican representative from Texas in 1966, serving until 1971. Over the next seven years, he held appointive national posts, including U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, chief liaison officer to the People's Republic of China, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Bush, who had served as a U.S. Navy pilot in the Pacific during World War II, was a popular candidate for the presidential nomination in 1980. When Ronald Reagan won the nomination, Bush was selected by Reagan as his running mate. Winning on the Republican ticket that year, Bush was reelected vice president four years later. In 1988 Bush was elected president of the United States and served one term. He was defeated for reelection in 1992 and retired to his home in Texas.

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