Adolf Hitler

You read correctly – Adolph Hitler was a painter. After writing a blog about Winston Churchill’s mastery of painting, I was curious to know if other politicians painted too. I was floored to learn Hitler had an early start as an amateur artist.

That career never evolved, of course. Presumably this was because he was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Nevertheless, he painted hundreds of paintings and postcards. If I understand correctly, he sold a number of paintings to a store owner by the name of Samuel Morgenstern. Morgenstern, in turn, sold the paintings and kept a database of the clients who bought them – most were Jewish!

In doing the research, I found a thread on Quora that asks if Hitler’s art is good. There are a lot of interesting comments. My favorite is, “His art is curiously and unsettlingly powerless.”

Jimmy Carter

On the other end of the spectrum – Jimmy Carter, the much-loved former President and philanthropist, is a painter too. He took it up after leaving the White House.

He has no grand illusions with regard to his talent which is essentially “adept”. However, his paintings sell for thousands.

Live Oak at Sunrise, featured here, sold for $250,000. Profits from sales of his work go to the Carter Center, which works towards the alleviation of homelessness, hunger, and disease.

By the way, in researching his art, I also discovered he wrote poetry. Here’s an excerpt of one he wrote about his wife. I love it:

She’d smile,
and birds would feel that they no longer had to sing,
or it maybe I failed to hear their song.

Didn’t think I could love him more.

George Bush

Bush too took up oil painting after his time in the White House. Apparently, he was inspired by Churchill’s essay on painting as a pastime.

He was discovered as an artist in the most new-fashioned way – he was hacked and some of his paintings were made public.

He’s since published, called “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors”, which showcases his paintings of world leaders. The proceeds go to a non-profit that helps veterans and their families.

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