As Texas governor, President Bush admired a 1916 painting by W.H.D. Koehner hanging in his office. In 1995, Bush wrote a memo to his Texas staff describing the artwork:
But in his new book, The Bush Tragedy, Jacob Weisberg explains that the painting has nothing to do with the hymn and “circuit-riders who spread Methodism across the Alleghenies in the nineteenth century.” It actually depicts a horse bandit:
The artist, W.H.D. Koerner, executed it to illustrate a Western short story entitled “The Slipper Tongue,” published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1916. The story is about a smooth-talking horse thief who is caught, and then escapes a lynch mob in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. The illustration depicts the thief fleeing his captors.
Scott Horton has more.