February 8, 2013

Paintings by George Bush of his feet in the bathtub and his back in the shower.

Part of what we are seeing because a Bush family account was hacked. I wasn't going to link to the hacking, but I'm fascinated by George Bush as a painter. (Via Metafilter.)

The feet-in-the-bath pic brought to mind the wonderful paintings Pierre Bonnard made of his wife in the bathtub:



99 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I hope the hackers are caught and punished. What a horrible invasion of privacy.

ricpic said...

Bush does a good job of the body above water and then under water and then above water again in his view of his legs and feet in the bathtub. Not at all easy to do.

The Farmer said...

I don't get why they're calling them "bizarre." What's bizarre about them?

Curious George said...

"MadisonMan said...
I hope the hackers are caught and punished. What a horrible invasion of privacy." I agree. Unless you are "fascinated by George Bush as a painter." Then it's all okay.

Curious George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

At least Bush had the decency to cut-off the "Feet in the Bathtub" image at mid-thigh.

Spare us any "Feet in the Bathtub" painting by Anthony Weiner since he left office.

X said...

hey, me and George have the same no-fog shaving mirror.

Nonapod said...

The Farmer said...

I don't get why they're calling them "bizarre." What's bizarre about them?


That's the only negative thing they could come up with. Somehow I suspect if it was Obama's pictures they wouldn't be be classified as "bizarre" but instead remarked open as being surprisingly good.

Scott M said...

Where's Will Hunting when you need him to look at something?

Scott said...

I don't get why they're calling them "bizarre." What's bizarre about them?

If you're a progressive, you find it helpful for your opinion leaders to tell you what to think.

roesch/voltaire said...

I am impressed by his painting-- interestingly I have been trying to imitate a similar painting without much success-- maybe the hackers are an advanced PR campaign for a George Bush painting exhibit?

AprilApple said...

If these were Obama paintings, they would be in the Louvre by now.

AprilApple said...


... and given a Nobel Peace Prize.

Shanna said...

If these were Obama paintings, they would be in the Louvre by now.

Hee. The bizarre thing is that there is a certain cohort who is unwilling to give Bush credit for any good thought, feeling or action. Despite the fact that he is a flawed but obviously decent guy.


Ann Althouse said...

Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked.

ironrailsironweights said...

From the second painting it appears that Madame Bronard was flavorful.

Peter

CEO-MMP said...

I believe the church scene they picture him working on is a rendition of St. Ann's (yes, I'm serious), St. Ann's on the point, about half a mile from "The Compound" up in Kennebunkport.

It's a beautiful church, beautiful grounds. You can drive right in, park, walk around, meditate, ocean views on two sides, weekdays it's mostly quiet and very good for contemplation.

http://www.stannskennebunkport.org/

Henry said...

Those are really interesting paintings. I'd like to see them live. I wonder who he looks at for inspiration.

Nonapod said...

Ann Althouse said...

Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked.


Not Obama. He is sheathed in sunlight with a holy nimbus obfuscating his nethers.

CEO-MMP said...

And I like W's paintings too. I can't think who he reminds me of.

But if I was gonna joke about it I'd say they kind of remind me of Colonel Potter's work.

Bob R said...

Much better than Jimmy Carter's poetry.

Irene said...

I like the inclusion of Mrs. Bush in the bathtub photo.

Freder Frederson said...

And I like W's paintings too. I can't think who he reminds me of.

You people really have no artistic sense. Althouse, the former art major, should scold you severely.

That being said, he is a decent amateur who obviously derives a lot of pleasure out of his painting. Good for him. It is possible to say, "hey, I am glad he has found a hobby he enjoys" without lauding him as the next Thomas Kincade (and yes I am being facetious).

garage mahal said...

Dubya has a bit of a Churchill complex going on.

garage mahal said...

But can't paint near as good as Churchill.

CEO-MMP said...

Eat a sack of slimy dicks, Freder.

I said I liked it. I didn't say it was something that was going to set the world on fire.

I liked my grandmother's paintings as well. I liked my great-grandmother's poems.

She wasn't Gramma Moses and she wasn't Maya Angelou.

So eat a sack of dicks.

southcentralpa said...

Is it wrong to observe that Mme. Bonnard apparently shaved?

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
southcentralpa said...

And as a larger observation, this sort of crepe is why we have a Fourth Amendment. There is stuff in all of our lives which is moral and non-criminal that we would prefer not to be public and is NBBM.

southcentralpa said...

(NBBM = Nobody's Business But Mine)

bagoh20 said...

The more I learn of the man the more I both like him and respect him. When he first came up as a candidate for President I thought why him, he's seems kind of a small, uninteresting man compared to his dad. Then I learned how well he worked as a Texas Governor, and I said OK, maybe he'll do. Then when elected, at first even the press was impressed with the professionalism and competence of his team and he wasn't a scary conservative. OK, that's fine this will work. Then a lot shit hit the fan, and drastic times were on and he made his share of mistakes and good calls. I thought he was too liberal with spending myself, but that was before I learned what real spending is.

The wars, as always, were tough and full of missteps and tragedy. He experienced the most negatively partisan and biased press I've ever seen, and Reagan had it pretty bad.

Through all of it though, I was very impressed with his stability, his conviction, his fairness, his simple goodness, humility and humanity, and much of his greatest work from these qualities went mostly ignored.

I was always surprised, and like many infuriated with his refusal to fight back against the onslaught of unfair press and criticism, but in the end, after reflection, it just shows me that he was a better man than I would be in that position. And he keeps doing that.

Ann Althouse said...

The paintings are unfinished.

It really is an invasion of privacy to look at the paintings he did not judge ready to show.

bagoh20 said...

"You people really have no artistic sense. Althouse, the former art major, should scold you severely."

Let's see yours, Rembrandt. Or are you as unskilled in art as you are in logic?

Ann Althouse said...

I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, and I didn't like him in any way prior to 9/11, though I did completely accept the outcome of the election at the point when the Supreme Court ended the controversy about the outcome.

But ever since 9/11, I have felt bonded to him. I feel protective of him. And here he is naked... with the added intimacy of an unfinished work revealed against his will.

garage mahal said...

Bush the boyfriend?

Amexpat said...

And I like W's paintings too. I can't think who he reminds me of.

For some reason, the shower painting made me think of David Hockney's California pool paintings.

Erika said...

Bag, beautifully put and I agree entirely.

Jay Vogt said...

Pretty low-class invasion of privacy.

What's interesting to me is the paintings show a real application of classical composition techniques. Attention has been given to spacial, shape and line unity for instance.

No comment on the artistic talent, but clearly the paintings have been "designed". I wonder who's teaching him.

bagoh20 said...

When venturing into the arm waving of art criticism, I think it helps to remember that criticism is not a science, despite many previous theories being disproved and practitioners shamed.

Every time I read art critiques I think of those in the past who completely screwed the pooch about great masterpieces. I'm not saying Bush is good at this. I simply have no idea, other than it looks as pleasing and interesting to me as many I've seen hanging in pay per view locations.

Mark said...

It's only bizarre if you think W. is an imbecile animated only by some primeval evil.

Freder Frederson said...

Let's see yours, Rembrandt. Or are you as unskilled in art as you are in logic?

I'm a crappy artist. But you are one to call me unskilled in logic if you think you have to be a talented artist to tell good art from amateurish.

I said I liked it. I didn't say it was something that was going to set the world on fire.

I liked my grandmother's paintings as well. I liked my great-grandmother's poems.


Well, then you like not very good art. As for the art of relatives, it is hard to judge the art of relatives because of the emotional attachment.

Patrick said...

Iowahawk: "Another reason for artists to hate Bush: he's a better artist than most of them."

Freder Frederson said...


It really is an invasion of privacy to look at the paintings he did not judge ready to show.

Yet you still linked to it. Go figure!

My personal view of emails is never put anything in one you wouldn't care if the whole world saw.

Chip S. said...

My personal view of emails is never put anything in one you wouldn't care if the whole world saw.

You're either a world-class exhibitionist or the world's dullest email correspondent.

Either one is fine, btw.

Shanna said...

to tell good art from amateurish

He is an amateur. It's a hobby that he's taken interest in. That's how it should be judged, not with comparisons to degas.

Iowahawk: "Another reason for artists to hate Bush: he's a better artist than most of them."

HA!

CEO-MMP said...

Who's to say what's good art and what isn't Freder?

When I was in college a kid got a grant (or flat out paid, I really forget which) for several paintings which the college put in the lobby areas of several dorms. They were canvasses painted flat black that he then gobbed (literally) purple paint onto.

They were considered masterpieces. I thought they sucked and looked a lot like the overalls the college painter wore every day.

Great art? Good art? Passable art? Art is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.

Assholes are just assholes though.

William said...

I just don't see how he was able to set up the easel in the shower. And wouldn't the steam from the hot water make the paint run?

Carol said...

Dubya has a bit of a Churchill complex going on.

Sheesh, plenty of celebs take up painting later in life. Probably it was recommended to him to get his mind off stuff, while not injuring himself through sport.

I just now read where Katherine Hepburn took it up in midlife, then got Spencer Tracy to start painting too. So they'd set their easels up side by side and paint together.

And people who think his work "bizarre" don't know much about art because there is a long tradition of self-portraiture. It seems to be part of the discipline.

garage mahal said...

Have a sneaky suspicion that if these bathtub paintings were from Obama the reviews would be a little different.

Chip S. said...

Certainly yours would.

Revenant said...

I don't get why they're calling them "bizarre." What's bizarre about them?

The author doesn't like the artist.

Mark said...

Why do you have to be a pro to be a good artist? In a time when "Piss Christ" gets raves, I will take the work of an amateur with an aesthetic that speaks to me over the work of a "pro" pretty much every time.

EMD said...

Bush the boyfriend?

More like Bush the Pet.

Mark said...

Garage, to be fair many of us do find the quality of "Dreams From My Father" to be beyond the talents of Obama and strongly believe the whole thing at the least heavily doctored by a real writer.

Whether we're right or wrong, I doubt that many any of us dispute the quality of the book itself.

Henry said...

This thread pretty much distills the difference between roesch/voltaire and Freder Frederson in the Althouse vortex. See if you can spot the difference.

Anyway, Bush's paintings are surprisingly good for an untrained(*) amateur. The work is certainly on par with the average student work you'll see in the average university art program (trust me -- I've been there). The paintings are interesting in their choice of subject matter. The man could take up any hobby and he took up painting. That's interesting too.

(*)Maybe he is taking lessons from someone. No reason why he couldn't be.

garage mahal said...

I don't know jack about art, but I think W's paintings are pretty good for an amateur?

Henry said...

Garage wrote: Have a sneaky suspicion that if these bathtub paintings were from Obama the reviews would be a little different.

First off, we'd wonder whose legs those were.

bagoh20 said...

"I'm a crappy artist. But you are one to call me unskilled in logic if you think you have to be a talented artist to tell good art from amateurish."


Based on evidence, it's logical to assume most criticism of art is not based on anything.

I'm also suggesting that the very idea that your criticism of Bush's art has anything to do with it's quality is illogical.

Assuming you didn't like it even before you saw it - now that's logical.

Henry said...

Why is Obama painting George Bush's legs in a bathtub?

That's what we'd wonder.

Nichole said...

I'm going to bet that by the end of this week he will have many people bidding on those paintings. I mean, I kind of want to buy them.

bagoh20 said...

"Have a sneaky suspicion that if these bathtub paintings were from Obama the reviews would be a little different."

They would, but not because they are good or bad, but because Obama is a pretentious, narcissistic fool, and the opprobriousness aimed at Bush would actually make sense directed at Obama.

chickelit said...

I agree with Peter et al: the work helps rehabilitate the mane

garage mahal said...

...because Obama is a pretentious, narcissistic fool

Let is go man, it's tearing you up inside.

PWS said...

I really disliked Bush as a president, but I think it's cool and revealing that he paints. Good for him.

chickelit said...

So how long before we see photos of the fruits of Obama hobby?

Basta! said...

"The paintings are unfinished."
Oh, good. Otherwise, I was going to say, I hope that's not Bush in the bathtub, because the crotch is dickless.

Robin said...

Mahal, your comments have always been very informative. Sadly, that information has solely been about your character.

jacksonjay said...


Maybe I'm wrong, but its seems to me that lefties are always the ones who hack into something! Can't think of liberal politicians personal life being hacked!

They preach privacy for me, but not for thee!

bagoh20 said...

" it's tearing you up inside. "

You have no idea. Although he's a disaster for the country and the economy, my own business thrives on a slow economy, so I profit well from his foolishness. I still voted against him. He's that bad. And, I bet he can't paint a birdhouse.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Well, I clicked through, though Ann is doing her best to make me feel guilty for having done so. I'm actually rather impressed. Unless GWB has a very good visual memory, I think a camera must have been involved along the way, but still, not bad at all.

And neither of the bathroom paintings looks unfinished to me.

Rusty said...

I like his use of color. His perspective needs work. He has a good grasp of how cloth drapes. Not easy to do.
A talented amateur. I hope he keeps it up.

My minor was in art.

BaltoHvar said...

Sister Wendy, please call your Office in the Convent.

edutcher said...

They look like pastels, rather than oils.

that said, the Lefties are going to have to stop comparing Dubya to (Godwin Alert). Al couldn't do people at all.

PS Love the way The Verge tries to turn the creep who did this into a hero, as if this was some daring behind-the-lines raid.

Drago said...

Garage: "Let is go man, it's tearing you up inside."

Says the guy who can't let it go when it comes to Bush!

Drago said...

BTW, the whole wheat Tuscan linguine from Noodles is surprisingly good.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So how long before we see photos of the fruits of Obama hobby?

At least we know it won't be a bunch of dead skeets*

*joking.....I know what skeet shooting is.

garage mahal said...

Says the guy who can't let it go when it comes to Bush!

How could you tell? Me never bringing his name up and complimenting his paintings?

Darrell said...

garage mahal--I don't know jack about art, but I think W's paintings are pretty good for an amateur?

See that question mark at the end? His fucking brain can't even compliment Bush without throwing a curve.

Kirby Olson said...

I wonder how many people switched Party affiliation after Bush's short speech just after 9/11. It was the beginning of my shift to the Republican party. I too feel very protective of W. I love his paintings and am so grateful he is having this time to himself. I really like W. and am flummoxed at the crummy people who reflexively despise him. He must have taken a class or has a tutor, because he's too good to be self-taught, I should think. Maybe he just has an excellent book. W. is a fairly deep man. His paintings are certainly better than Carter's poems.

AllenS said...

I'm not sure what Obama will be doing in his spare time after his term is over, but I'll bet he does it in Hawaii and not Chicago.

Drago said...

garage: "How could you tell? Me never bringing his name up and complimenting his paintings?"

LOL

"Me never bringing his name up..."

Too funny.

"...and complimenting his paintings?"

Where did this constraint come from?

Logic fail.

Per usual.

Drago said...

Darrel: "See that question mark at the end?"

When you are garage and your only good for moving rocks around and picking up golf balls when you are younger, you're entire life is a sequence of comments/observations followed by question marks.

It's what makes you a good lefty foot soldier.

You know your place and are happy to defer to your political "betters".

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Basta!,

Oh, good. Otherwise, I was going to say, I hope that's not Bush in the bathtub, because the crotch is dickless

That's because you're looking at the painting by Pierre Bonnard of his wife in the bath, as opposed to the painting [at the link] by GWB of his own legs in the bath, which doesn't get up to the crotch zone.

garage mahal said...

Too funny.

Just fact.

Logic fail.

Drago fail. Thanks for stopping by and stepping on another rake.

Drago said...

garage: "Thanks for stopping by and stepping on another rake."

Powerful.

It's easy to see how you've come to be such a success.

Don't change a thing.

garage mahal said...

babble babble blah huh what babble blah blah.

Drago said...

garage: "babble babble blah huh what babble blah blah."

Easily your most poignant comment in years.

Congrats.

Again, don't change a thing.

Aaron said...

The libs are claiming he paints himself bathing because of his shame.

Huh.

I bet he paints himself bathing or showering because that's when people have down time to think about projects. I know that's when I get creative mentally - nothing to distract you. If I were a painter, I can see attempting to memorize the location to paint later as an exercise.

Or maybe the libs are right.

bagoh20 said...

Don't paint bathtubs -

paint bathtubs!

bagoh20 said...

"The libs are claiming he paints himself bathing because of his shame"

No chance of that with our new guy - he has none.

AllenS said...

I tried painting myself in the shower with watercolors, and had absolutely nothing to show for it when I was done.

creeley23 said...

When libs weren't foaming at the mouth that Bush was "shredding the Constitution" and such -- practices Obama continues yet are somehow no longer worthy of liberal or media notice -- another smear was to dismiss Bush as "incurious."

I don't think incurious politicians take up painting after they retire.

Representational painting is painstaking work. Bush's paintings may not look like much but it's hard to reach even this level of skill.

A pox on these hackers.

wyo sis said...

Painting water and especially objects in water is very challenging. Maybe he's just giving himself difficult projects for his own artistic growth, or just for the fun of the challenge.

Henry said...

@AllenS -- Great punchline to a 90 comment set-up.

Smilin' Jack said...

So now all the Hitler-haters are going to point out that Hitler painted too. Like that makes him as bad as Bush.

Dante said...

One of the comments:

They look like the paintings of a man trying to come to terms with himself and struggling with internal anguish, but maybe I’m just hoping that’s what he’s been doing since riding the country into the ground.

In other words, it can mean about anything you want.

I feel the same way about Gatsby. Throw a bunch of resonate phrases together, and no matter how meaningless, they will make sense to some English teacher. Especially if you write the occasionally sensible sentence of deep meaning.

Dante said...

What's bizarre about them?

Ah, Farmer, the "Capital is a long way away, but let's pretend it doesn't screw with everyone's life" guy.

Ans: it's only bizarre the man has time to develop his interests in this way.

We agree. Images. Ann, with her background in fine art, has all the right creds to determine whether there is anything meaningful in it. Whether that means a damn thing or not, well, who knows.

Rusty said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
So how long before we see photos of the fruits of Obama hobby?

At least we know it won't be a bunch of dead skeets*

*joking.....I know what skeet shooting is


I just got your avatar.
Doh!

I loathe hypocrites said...

Unlike some of the people he sent off to war on lies, he still has feet to paint...