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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

See Paintings by George W. Bush’s Art Teacher on View at the Dallas Art Fair

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Unfortunately but not surprisingly, last week’s Dallas Art Fair did not feature the city’s most talked-about local artist, George W. Bush. (In case you’ve been hiding under a rock recently, news of the 43rd president’s new hobby went viral earlier this month after pictures of two of his self-portraits leaked online.) We here at ARTINFO searched high and low to find the next best thing, however, and we succeeded. Feast your eyes on paintings by George W. Bush’s teacher, Gail Norfleet.

Bush called on Norfleet, a Southern Methodist University graduate and local Dallas artist, over a year ago when he first decided he wanted to try his hand at painting. Since then, she’s given him lessons about once a week, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Two of Norfleet’s recent works — both depicting her studio and paintings-in-process — were on display at the Dallas Art Fair this weekend at the booth of Dallas’s own Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden.

The most recent of the two canvases, the 2013 oil on canvas “Palette” (above), shares its off-kilter, not-quite-bird’s eye perspective with Bush’s oft-reproduced leaked self-portrait in the bathtub (below). Both compositions hover about 45 degrees above the picture plane, a point of view reminiscent of Matisse. The compositions simultaneously provide depth and acknowledge the canvas’s flatness. (Okay, formal analysis over.)

The Dallas Art Fair, meanwhile, is not the only place Bush’s new hobby is making its making its mark on the city — at least indirectly. ARTINFO hears that local collector extraordinaire Deedie Rose has a George W. Bush original painting on view in her home, a portrait of her dogs. Perhaps it was painted under the tutelage of Norfleet?

Julia Halperin

(Captions: Gail Norfleet, “The Blue Studio,” 2012, photo collage and acrylic enamel on two Lucite panels, 23 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches and “Palette,” 2013, oil on panel, 30 x 24 inches, both courtesy Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden.)

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