Exhibition of Former President Bush’s Paintings Expected at Witte this July

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President George W. Bush painting.

Grant Miller / George W. Bush Center

Former President George W. Bush paints portraits, some of which are currently on display in a museum in Midland, Texas.

The Witte Museum is expected to announce on Tuesday that an exhibition of military veterans’ portraits painted by former President George W. Bush will come to Military City, USA, this July.

Marise McDermott, president and CEO of the Witte Museum, would not confirm this information prior to Tuesday’s formal announcement.

The Witte on Feb. 1 sent a media advisory saying that “a one-of-a-kind, limited exhibition, happening this summer” will be announced Tuesday, with special guest speakers Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Col. Miguel Howe of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative.

Witte Director of Communications Katye Brought said Monday that an exhibition is “coming to the Witte Museum this summer that is in partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Center.”

A source with knowledge of the announcement confirmed that it will pertain to the Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors exhibition.

The exhibition is currently in Bush’s hometown of Midland, Texas, at the Museum of the Southwest, through March 25. Karmen Hendrix Bryant, interim executive director of the Museum of the Southwest, said that the exhibition will travel next to the Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife National Museum in Springfield, Missouri.

A source at the Museum of the Southwest also confirmed a 12-week run for the exhibition at each location, which would correspond to an appearance in San Antonio in mid-summer.

Portraits of Courage focuses on large-scale portraits of military veterans, all painted by the former president in recent years. A main feature of the exhibition is a 16-foot long, multi-panel mural that portrays the faces of a diverse array of veterans, numbering in the dozens, over a variegated, military-green background.

The paintings first appeared in 2017 in book form, with a volume of the same title, and includes veterans’ stories. A New York Times review of the book called Bush “an evocative and surprisingly adept artist.”

The exhibition at the Museum of the Southwest contains 66 portraits, plus the mural. From published reports, several portraits are of visibly wounded veterans, including a woman with a prosthetic leg dancing with Bush himself.

As stated on its website, the mission of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative is to help “post-9/11 veterans and their families” transition to civilian life, with help for employment and “overcoming the invisible wounds of war.”

Katie Ballard Kardell, associate of external affairs for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, confirmed that the traveling exhibition will include all of the paintings in the current show.


4 thoughts on “Exhibition of Former President Bush’s Paintings Expected at Witte this July

  1. Is this his catharsis for starting a war on lies and deceit. Thousands of troops killed and maimed. Shame on the Witte. The museum shoul be boycotted for hanging any of his paintings. They will never get another dime of my money.

  2. How does one respond to an incredibly ignorant comment like the one from G.I. Schmoe? Who probably never gave a dime to the Witte anyway.
    Perhaps it is his catharsis, what’s that to you? Or perhaps it’s his way of honoring the heros. Not shame on the Witte, shame on you, Schmoe.
    I for one am going to thank the Witte for mounting this exhibit.

  3. I actually think GI Joe has a point. As a painter, I am curious to see the painting for paintings sake, but hopefully the proceeds of any entry into the exhibit will help those harmed while in combat or just in service.

    As to the war that was started by faulty intelligence, well I think the fact that we know that it was erroneous has led many in the US and the world to believe that maybe the US is not the leader of the free world, but has an agenda that is selfish in nature.

    To the men and women that serve, well we honor you all the time, to those that just wake up everyday to take care of yourself and those you love, well I honor you as well. To those not so well, I hope the bounty of humanity finds you and helps you find a way in this very difficult and complex world.

  4. As the mother of one of the young men Bush painted, I can assure you the President did everything to thank these service members for their service and recognize their sacrifice. He is a patriot and a kind man.

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