New evidence has emerged that paints George W. Bush as, well, a painter.
Of all the dirt that gets unearthed on former American presidents, the discovery of Bush's artistic endeavours might qualify as fluff.
But hello, he's spending his time painting dogs and cats. This is big news!
Yes, there's something undeniably poignant about the latest batch of canvases that are being attributed to the 43rd president of the United States. His dogs appear without feet, floating in a wide expanse of flat canvas. One of his oil paintings depicts a cat poking out a planter – it could almost be described as in the style of Matisse.
Following the debut of Bush's artwork on The Smoking Gun back in February, the site has provided Gawker with new images of a half-dozen previously unseen paintings.
In both cases, the art had been discovered by a hacker who goes by the name Guccifer (which sounds like a hip-hop portmanteau of Gucci and Lucifer, no?).
Lest this sound shady, the former president's art teacher, Bonnie Flood, spoke to an Atlanta new station last month saying she spent a month teaching him technique.
"He picked it up so quick; it was amazing, actually," she told Fox 5 Atlanta. She also seemed shocked to discover his preferred genre: dogs. "He pulls out this canvas and starts painting a dog, and I said, 'Oh my god, I don't paint dogs!'"
It's not exactly a common contemporary art theme – which is partly what makes the work so quaint. For a president who has seen so much, the paintings present a sheltered world and express a certain naïveté.
To be sure, Bush Jr. is not the first American president to have a creative hobbyhorse. Bill Clinton's saxophone playing is well known. Thomas Jefferson has left behind an architectural legacy that includes Monticello, buildings on the University of Virginia campus and Richmond's capitol. And of course, Ronald Reagan was an actor before running for office.
The photos show the paintings in what appears to be the former president's studio. While it's a shame that Bush has been the victim of a hacker, it would have been a bigger shame had the works remained unseen.
So what's next? Dubya should get gallery representation, that's what. If Larry Gagosian could see talent in Damien Hirst, certainly he could find some merit in the shell still life. Or the sun setting behind a tubby cat posing somewhat contrapposto – even if the direction of the light seems off.