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George W. Bush to show artwork in first exhibition

In the years since he left the White House, former President George W. Bush has kept a low public profile, living out his golden years quietly at his home in Texas.

An exception to this rule -- perhaps against his wishes -- has been his amateur art career.

The paintings Bush has created -- depicting dogs, landscapes and himself in the shower -- were leaked online last year thanks to a hacker who later was arrested. In November, bowing to growing public interest, the former president touted his artwork to Jay Leno during an appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show."

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Starting in April, Bush will have his first art exhibition. "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" is scheduled to run at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.

The exhibition will feature two dozen never-before-exhibited portraits created by Bush, as well as personal artifacts, photographs and other items that will tell the story of his relationship with international leaders.

A release issued by the Bush Presidential Center, which includes the library, said the exhibition "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."

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The center said the exhibition will open in early April but didn't provide specific dates.

Bush signs his paintings "43" -- a reference to his term as the 43rd U.S. president from 2001 to 2009. He told Leno last year that he took up painting after reading Winston Churchill's memoirs, in which the former British prime minister wrote about his passion for the canvas.  

Subjects that Bush has taken for his paintings include his late Scottish terrier Barney, farm animals and fruit.

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