Presidents are people, too! Sometimes it’s easy to forget this. They have likes, dislikes, passions, and hobbies. As far as history indicates, there have been four presidents who LOVED painting and enjoyed the pastime before, during, and after their executive years. These presidents include:
- Ulysses S. Grant
- Dwight Eisenhower
- Jimmy Carter
- George W. Bush
Did you know that these presidents had a knack for painting?
The Painting Presidents: Grant, Eisenhower, Carter, and Bush
Most painters like discovering fellow painters. If you love painting, you’ll be interested in learning more about
the following “painting presidents”:
- Grant — Ulysses S. Grant was a romantic. How do we know this? Because, at age 18, Grant bestowed a highly romantic gift on his girlfriend: a watercolor landscape. When Grant arrived at West Point he had the honor of formally studying painting under a renowned instructor. He continued to paint throughout his life, including his years as president of the United States.
- Eisenhower — This individual started painting a little later in life than Grant. When he was the president of Columbia University, he was massively impressed by the way an acquaintance, Thomas E. Stephens, painted a portrait of his (Stephens’) wife. Stephens soon sent Eisenhower a complete painting kit. Eisenhower experimented with painting for years, but didn’t seriously study it until age 58, and only after the prodding of Winston Churchill. He created about 250 paintings in his lifetime.
- Carter — Like Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter became a painter in his later years. His work tended to be naturalistic. He was not only a painter, but also a philanthropist. 4 Presidents Who Painted for Fun and Profit (1) stated, “After stepping down from the presidency, Carter founded the eponymous Carter Center; in partnership with Emory University, the human rights organization aims to ‘prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.’ To that end, the foundation organizes fundraising events like charity memorabilia auctions, selling luxury vacations, signed photos, fine jewelry, and Carter’s own artwork—a surprisingly popular draw for wealthy collectors.” In 2012, one of Carter’s paintings sold for $250,000 at an auction.
- Bush — It comes as a surprise to many that George W. Bush is a painter. Since retiring as president of the U.S., Bush has produced many amatueur animal and still-life paintings. While Bush wanted to keep his collection private, a hacker named “Guccifer” stole images of the collection via email in 2013 and publicized them.
Note: The information in this article was derived from Mental Floss’ 4 Presidents Who Painted for Fun and Profit (2).
Which of these four former U.S. presidents are you most surprised to learn was/is a painter? Are there any “painting presidents” we left out? Share with us in the “comments” section below.
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1, 2. Mental Floss. 4 presidents who painted for fun and profit. http://mentalfloss.com/article/50089/4-presidents-who-painted-fun-and-profit.