George W. Bush received plenty of criticism during his eight years as President of the United States, but will the reviews be better when the public becomes his art critic? Running through June 3rd, the “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” will be on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. The exhibit features portraits of 24 world leaders, none of whom have yet seen themselves as interpreted by W’s brush. The works were revealed today on the Today Show, in a segment hosted by Bush’s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager.
Bush walked her, and the audience, through the gallery, relaying anecdotes, including one about Vladimir Putin “dissing” the Bush family pet Barney. Other portraits included Tony Blair, Hamid Karzai, and Bush’s favorite, a likeness of his father, George H.W. Bush. Bush began painting two years ago and said he was inspired to take up the brush when he started using the drawing app Penultimate.
Other Bush originals have been previously released to the public–some on purpose (dog Barney is quite impressive) and some by accident (i.e. Bush in the bathtub). In a previous NBC interview, the ex-president said that he painted the portraits “in a spirit of friendship.”JM