Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Robert Anderson ’68

When it came time for President George W. Bush ’68 to join 41 other presidents in the National Portrait Gallery, he says he needed “a good and forgiving friend” to paint his portrait. His choice was Robert Anderson ’68, a painter from Darien, Connecticut, who took a Spanish class with the president at Yale. The portrait, along with another artist’s likeness of Laura Bush, was unveiled in Washington on December 19.

Anderson had done a formal portrait of Bush for the Yale Club of New York City in 2003, but this time, the two settled on a casual, seated pose. “This is more conversational and intimate,” Anderson told the Stamford Advocate, “the way you would experience the president of you were just sitting down and talking with him.”

Anderson, a combat veteran in Vietnam, took painting classes at Yale, but majored in American studies. After his Navy service, he studied at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He makes his living at privately commissioned portraits, including a few up the road at his alma mater: he has painted former chaplain William Sloane Coffin, and a portrait of president Richard Levin is in the works.

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