Visual Arts

Local Artist to Publish Book of Oil Paintings

Former President George W. Bush's Portraits of Courage will feature paintings of U.S. military veterans.

A book of paintings by George W. Bush is due to be published in February, with an exhibition of the artist’s work set to open at his presidential library in Dallas the following month.

The book will feature a four-panel mural and 66 portraits of U.S. military veterans accompanied by each veteran’s story, as written by the former president. Portraits of Courage will also include an introduction by Bush.

Profits from book sales will be donated to the Bush Presidential Center and its Military Service Initiative, which focuses on helping veterans.

This is not 43’s first foray into painting. In 2014, the Bush Center at SMU hosted The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacyan exhibition of portraits of world leaders, including Vladimir Putin and Tony Blair, by the former president.

Here’s the description of Portraits of Courage from the Bush Center:

A vibrant collection of oil paintings and stories by President George W. Bush honoring the sacrifice and courage of America’s military veterans. With Forewords by former First Lady Laura Bush and General Peter Pace, 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Growing out of President Bush’s own outreach and the ongoing work of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative,Portraits of Courage brings together sixty-six full-color portraits and a four-panel mural painted by President Bush of members of the United States military who have served our nation with honor since 9/11—and whom he has come to know personally.
Our men and women in uniform have faced down enemies, liberated millions, and in doing so showed the true compassion of our nation. Often, they return home with injuries—both visible and invisible—that intensify the challenges of transitioning into civilian life. In addition to these burdens, research shows a civilian-military divide. Seventy-one percent of Americans say they have little understanding of the issues facing veterans, and veterans agree: eighty-four percent say that the public has “little awareness” of the issues facing them and their families.
Each painting in this meticulously produced hardcover volume is accompanied by the inspiring story of the veteran depicted, written by the President. Readers can see the faces of those who answered the nation’s call and learn from their bravery on the battlefield, their journeys to recovery, and the continued leadership and contributions they are making as civilians. It is President Bush’s desire that these stories of courage and resilience will honor our men and women in uniform, highlight their family and caregivers who bear the burden of their sacrifice, and help Americans understand how we can support our veterans and empower them to succeed.
The author’s profits from this book will be donated to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a non-profit organization whose Military Service Initiative is focused on helping post-9/11 veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life and on addressing issues of veteran wellness including post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
The book is available now for pre-order, and will be released on Feb. 28. An exhibition of Bush’s original portraits will open at the Bush Center on March 2.