Artist George W. Bush to display portraits of world leaders

Artist George W. Bush to display portraits of world leaders

George W. Bush, the painter, will soon have his first gallery showing.

The former president’s artwork – a source of fascination for his fans and critics, in the worlds of both politics and art – will be the centerpiece of a special exhibit hosted later this year at his presidential library.

Starting in early April, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will open “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy.” The exhibit will focus on foreign policy and Bush’s relationships with world leaders, according to a news release.

Two dozen never-before-exhibited portraits painted by Bush will be the highlight. The paintings will be “accompanied by artifacts, photographs and personal reflections to help illustrate the stories of relationships formed on the world stage,” the news release said. …

The former president, who signs his work “43,” took up painting after reading “Painting as a Pastime” by Winston Churchill, another politician turned painter. Bush now paints regularly and takes lessons from Gail Norfleet, a Dallas artist.

The former president told The Dallas Morning News last April that he likes how painting allows him to create and to express himself “in a way that’s unique.” He said that with his new hobby, he takes “great delight in busting stereotypes.”

“People are surprised,” he said. “Of course, some people are surprised I can even read.”

Only a handful of Bush’s work has been shown to the public. That includes a painting of Barney, his Scottish terrier that died last year; and a rendering of a cardinal, replicas of which were sold at the library’s gift store last year as a Christmas ornament.

So the exhibit will be a rare opportunity for the public to take a closer look at Bush’s handiwork.

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