February 8th, 2013

George W. Bush, painter

They’re being mocked—of course!—by those who can’t stand him. And they were obtained illegally by a hacker and published in the press, continuing in the tradition of violating the privacy of hated Republicans and protecting almost everything about Obama that he doesn’t want you to know. But some unfinished paintings by former president George W. Bush are surprisingly good, in my opinion.

And just plain surprising. Why? These, unlike his portrait of First Dog Barney, show an unconventional painterly perspective of some sophistication, unusual in a new painter (which Bush is). The criticism (his perspective is wrong! how jejune, to paint bathroom scenes!) is absurd: ever since some time in the early 20th century, art has often played with perspective, and scenes at the toilette have been a standard theme in art for centuries.

Here they are—and remember, they’re unfinished:



9 Responses to “George W. Bush, painter”

  1. southpaw Says:

    I’m no art expert, but I know when something’s missing – where’s his rubber ducky? Did Cheney shoot that too?

  2. holmes Says:

    Yes, not too long ago Murdoch’s phone hacking scandal was sure to bring down an entire (right-wing) network! It also proved that the Right had no decency, no decency at all.

  3. RandomThoughts Says:

    I like the playfulness of these, particularly the toes in the tub. They’re miles better than anything I might attempt, and call to mind work I’ve seen hung in local galleries–in fact they are significantly better than some of the work I’ve seen hung in local galleries. But then I’m not one of the leftists determined to scorn anything connected with Bush, so my opinion is no doubt invalid.

  4. Tesh Says:

    Those are about on par with what I think of as “high school art student” art, so yeah, pretty good for a new painter. Not bad, but not yet not amazing. Certainly nothing to be worked up about either way. Amazing what some people will do to find fault.

  5. oldflyer Says:

    Not qualified to judge the quality of the work. Don’t care.

    What the paintings do is confirm my perception of GW Bush. He is a unique individual; a wonderful mix of playfulness and seriousness. A serious man who never takes himself seriously. A man who dares to be different, and let the chips fall.

    Well done, Mr President.

  6. parker Says:

    “A serious man who never takes himself seriously.”

    Dubya is a humble man. I did not agree with some of his decisions, and constantly wanted him to veto spending bills, but I like and admire him as a human being. He’s a good man. That can rarely be said of a politician. As a painter, it seems he is earnestly learning. May he have many years to practice his art.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    The perspective lines are accurate. The subject, perhaps too Ivy League ish.

  8. Book Says:

    yea… um. I don’t think that these were painted by the same person who painted the Barney painting. Sorry, but the brush strokes are just not anywhere near similar.

    Me thinks that this will turn out to be a hoax.

  9. expat Says:


    The part about earnestly learning strikes me as very plausible. I had a friend who loved art. We used to visit museums together, and I learned much from him. Anyway, at one point he started painting himself–hieroglyphic symbols. His point wasn’t to create art, but simply to get a hands-on feeling of what it took to create perspective and light in the works he loved. He would show me his latest attempt and talk about how hard it was to create the shadows that gave perspective to the symbol in his chosen setting.

    I’m pretty sure that he saw far more in every painting he later viewed after his “painting.”

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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