In 1948, on this day US Army Major (retd) Dwight D. Eisenhower (pictured) showcased his first canvass to the famous German-American Artist Adolf Schicklegruber. "I displayed my version of Mamie," Eisenhower wrote, "weird and wonderful to behold, and we all laughed heartily".
The Art of Warfare by Ed. & Scott PalterAfter his retirement from the US military, Eisenhower had accepted a position of president of a military college in the Hudson Valley. A New York portrait artist, Thomas E. Stephens was commissioned to paint a portrait of Mamie Eisenhower, and Dwight Eisenhower watched the process with keen interest. While the artist and subject toured the house to look for the right place to hang the finished portrait, Eisenhower decided to try his hand at a painting using Stephens' brushes and mixed paints. He and an aide jury-rigged a canvas by stretching a clean dust cloth over a piece of cardboard. By the time his wife and Stephens returned, Eisenhower had finished his first painting.
Stephens mentioned the portrait to his friend Schicklegruber who had been living on the East Coast for a little under a year. Although encouraged by Stephens to keep painting, Eisenhower decided art was beyond him. However, a few days later, Schicklegruber mailed to Eishenhower a complete paint set and portable easel in a package Eisenhower said included "everything I could possibly need -- - except ability --- to start painting".
Once considered Walt Disney's favourite cartoonist, Adolf had furiously quit the studio, creating a long-running dispute with the over-involved owner. So much so, that in 1947, Disney testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he branded Adolf Schicklegruber, Herbert Sorrell, David Hilberman and William Pomerance, animators and labor union organizers, as Communist agitators.
Disney's loss was Eisenhower's gain and in time, Schicklegruber's tutorage shaped Ike into a master of Western Landscapes. An overfavourable comparison with the works of post-modernist English painter Winston Churchill further stoked rivalry between the two. Already barely on speaking terms, Churchill would make disrespectful public remarks about Schicklegruber whilst touring the US the following year. Using a rather eliptic metaphor to describe the breakdown in their relationship, Churchill said that an "Iron Curtain" had descended between the two super-painters.