Bush previews paintings to be displayed at his first art exhibit

You’ve seen them in hacked emails posted on the Internet and on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Now you can view more than two dozen paintings by former President George W. Bush in his first art exhibit, “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” opening Saturday at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Those painting all are portraits of world leaders, including Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and the Dalai Lama. Those leaders have not yet seen their portraits, Bush told his daughter and “The TODAY Show” contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, and, he said, he hopes they will “take it in the spirit in which these were painted, and that was the spirit of friendship.”

He also said he thinks their reactions will be, “Wow, George Bush is a painter.”

Here’s how the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum describes the art exhibit:

The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy will explore the relationships that President George W. Bush forged with world leaders to shape international policy and advance American interests abroad. Opening in early April 2014, the exhibit will feature more than two dozen never-before-exhibited portraits painted by President Bush. Portraits will be accompanied by artifacts, photographs, and personal reflections to help illustrate the stories of relationships formed on the world stage. The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy will educate and inform visitors about the important role leadership plays in global diplomacy, and will provide an insider’s view into President Bush’s unique relationships with other world leaders.

So far, paintings by the former president glimpsed by the public have included a lot of dogs. There also have been some landscapes and still lifes (below, via Flavorwire) and a portrait of Leno he presented to the host on his show.

There also were these two unforgettable self portraits (via Vulture):

Bush has said he took up painting after leaving the White House after reading Winston Churchill’s “Painting as a Pastime.”

Here’s a clip of the former president’s interview with his daughter on “The TODAY Show”:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

See some of Bush’s paintings and his full interview tomorrow morning on “The TODAY Show” on NBC.

The Latest
Smoky pork is braised for hours in a bath of citrusy beer and spicy chipotles until meltingly tender.
In thunderous prequel, Anya Taylor-Joy burns with intensity as the future ‘Fury Road’ warrior.
The train was approaching the 47th Street station when the man was shot in the leg, police said.
He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition after the 3:15 a.m. rescue.
Americans have long cherished biscuits as a comfort food staple. The warm, flaky texture combined with a buttery flavor creates a sense of nostalgia and coziness.