Saturday, April 5, 2014

National Gallery buys Stephen Harper portrait by George W. Bush

Artist George W. Bush’s portrait of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which was done in oils or acrylics or something.
The National Gallery of Canada has purchased a portrait of Prime Minister Stephen Harper from a collection of paintings of world leaders by former U.S. President George W. Bush for an undisclosed but “significant” sum.

“Very soon, Canadians will have an opportunity to view this important painting of one of our country’s greatest prime ministers, by George W. Bush, the most important U.S. political leader of our generation,” the National Gallery of Canada said in a news release. “The portrait will be on permanent display near the entrance of the National Gallery in Ottawa.

“We are very pleased to have acquired this historic portrait of a great Canadian painted by such an influential American,” the news release continued. “Clearly Mr. Bush is as good a painter as he was a president.”

In addition, the National Gallery said, it is in negotiations to exhibit the entire display of Bush’s portraiture – “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy” – when the current exhibition at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Tex., ends in early June.

Known for his contributions to U.S. political life, foreign affairs and business, the artist (who was born in 1946) is best known for his controversial self-portrait reclining in a bathtub.

Bush started painting in 2012 after reading a book about Sir Winston Churchill, a British politician who painted for relaxation in the 1940s.

“I wanted to present an authoritarian image of the people I admired when I was the Decider,” Bush said in notes to the exhibition. “You did a heckuva job, Harpy!”

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