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George W. Bush To Unveil Painting Collection

Former President George W. Bush is set to unveil more than two dozen of his paintings as part of a special collection centering around world leaders.
Posted at 3:35 PM, Apr 04, 2014

Leader, philanthropist, golf player — those are the most common characteristics you might associate with George W. Bush. But how about painter? Turns out, he's set to unveil his paintings publicly.

The former president's daughter said on "Today" when Mr. Bush first picked up a paintbrush two years ago, the family was shocked. (Via The White House)

BUSH: "Who would've thought it?"

HAGER: "Not me."

BUSH: "Yeah, not me." (Via NBC)

But now at the ripe old age of 67, Jenna Bush Hager says he's got a new passion. He's planning to put more than two dozen of his paintings on display as part of an exhibit called "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy." 

The paintings explore Mr. Bush's relationships with world leaders in office like British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Via The White House)

Mr. Bush said he hopes to capture the unique personalities of those he worked closely with.

"I hope they take it in the spirit in which these were painted in. That was the spirit of friendship and that I admire them as leaders and was willing to give it a shot." (Via NBC)

Now, Gawker explains the former president's passion for painting is not some big, well-kept secret. Well, not since a hacker gained access to the personal email accounts of his sister early last year and leaked dozens of photos of his work.

He said of the hacking: "It's an invasion of one's privacy. ... And yeah, I was annoyed. And nor do I want my paintings to get out."

But apparently Mr. Bush warmed up to the idea of being a world-renowned painter, because later that year on "The Tonight Show" he brought host Jay Leno a very special gift. 

BUSH: "I do taking painting seriously. It's changed my life, and I brought a painting for you."

LENO: "Oh, what an honor that is. I can't make fun of him now."

The entire "Art of Leadership" collection will be open to public at his presidential library in Dallas beginning Saturday.