Paintings In The White House

Watch Meetingdec 31st 1862waiting For The Hour

White House moves Clinton, Bush portraits to rarely used room

White House Collection/White House Historical Association

American painter William Tolman Carltons Watch MeetingDec. 31st 1862Waiting for the Hour depicts a group of enslaved men, women, and children waiting for President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation the following day. Originally placed in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House, President Obama had it moved to the exterior of the Oval Office in 2013.

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, White House curator Bill Allman explained the painting and shared why President Obama selected it to hang near the Oval Office:

These are just a handful of the artwork that was displayed in the White House during President Obamas time in office. To learn more about the White House Collection, check out

The Art In The Oval Office Tells A Story Heres How To See It

May 5, 2021

This is a pretty standard White House photo, the sort of image you have probably noticed dozens of times since President Biden took office a little more than 100 days ago, from newspaper photographs to shots on cable news networks.

But look just past the president and notice the bust of Robert F. Kennedy behind him.

Kennedy crops up a lot these days, observing the scene here a few weeks ago

and nosing in here,

as Winston Churchill did during the Trump administration,

and as Abraham Lincoln did during the Obama administration.

You will see the bust over and over because of its particular placement next to the fireplace, behind the chair where the president sits during many meetings. Biden has long cited R.F.K. as one of his political heroes, and sees his evolution from a hard-nosed attorney general into a liberal icon as a sign of the capacity to grow.

But it is only one of the highly symbolic pieces of newly installed art that now saturate the images that come out of the White House.

The art in the Oval Office is ever-present, carefully chosen and deliberately placed

silently commenting on the moment,

the present, now more than ever, in constant tension with the past.

What if the paintings and sculptures could talk? What if they already do?

And so although the Oval Office is perhaps not often thought of as an ultra-high-profile rotating exhibition space, in one narrow sense, that is exactly what it is.

Look at Bidens fireplace wall:


He put up five.


Overcrowding And Building The West Wing

By the time of the American Civil War, the White House had become overcrowded. The location of the White House, just north of a canal and swampy lands, which provided conditions ripe for malaria and other unhealthy conditions, was questioned. Brigadier General Nathaniel Michler was tasked with proposing solutions to address these concerns. He proposed abandoning the use of the White House as a residence, and he designed a new estate for the first family at Meridian Hill in Washington, D.C. Congress, however, rejected the plan. Another option was Metropolis View, which is now the campus of The Catholic University of America.

When Chester A. Arthur took office in 1881, he ordered renovations to the White House to take place as soon as the recently widowed Lucretia Garfield moved out. Arthur inspected the work almost nightly and made several suggestions. Louis Comfort Tiffany was asked to send selected designers to assist. Over twenty wagonloads of furniture and household items were removed from the building and sold at a public auction. All that was saved were bust portraits of John Adams and . A proposal was made to build a new residence south of the White House, but it failed to gain support.

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Alma Thomas Resurrection 1966

Alma Thomas, Resurrection, 1966. Image courtesy of the White House Collection/White House Historical Association.

Though Thomas is among the most important Abstract Expressionists, she is also among the most overlooked due primarily to her gender and the color of her skin. This particular work was acquired in February of 2015 by the George B. Hartzog, Jr. White House Acquisition Trust, with Michelle Obama unveiling the painting following the renovation of the White House dining room. The piece is characteristic of Thomas, whose work features stunning colors dabbed across the canvas, sometimes in geometric patterns. Thomas was a longtime resident of Washington D.C., where she lived most of her life, graduating from Howard University in 1924 . This work doesnt depict a moment in Americas past or presentat least not directly. While it isnt a history painting as such, its presence in the collection is historical: It is the first work by an African American woman artist housed at the White House.

Highlights Of The Collection

The White House At Night Painting by Vincent Van Gogh Reproduction ...

The first work of art that was acquired for the White House was the full-length portrait of the president George Washington by Gilbert Stuart in 1800, one of the most famous portraitist in American history. Highlights of the present collection include landscapes by artists such as Michele Felice Cornè, Thomas Birch, George Cooke, Martin Johnson Heade and Georgia O’Keefe depictions of important historical events, such as The Peacemakers by George P. A. Healy and Signing of the Peace Protocol Between Spain and the United States, August 12 1898 by Théobald Chartran works by John Singer Sargent, Theodore Roosevelt and The Mosquito Net thirty-six marble busts by Italian neoclassical sculptor Giuseppe Ceracchi, depicting prominent men including Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.

Beginning with Stuart’s portrait of George Washington, it has been a custom for the President of the United States to have an official portrait taken during his time in office, evoking the history and stories of the nation’s highest office and the individuals who have occupied it. Over the years, the US president portraits have developed and turned more into works of art than straight depictions, commissioned from the best artists of their day. Most notable examples are Obama portraits, commissioned from Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.

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Closure Of Pennsylvania Avenue

On May 20, 1995, primarily as a response to the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, the United States Secret Service closed off Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic in front of the White House from the eastern edge of Lafayette Park to 17th Street. Later, the closure was extended an additional block to the east to 15th Street, and East Executive Avenue, a small street between the White House and the Treasury Building.

After , this change was made permanent, in addition to closing E Street between the South Portico of the White House and the Ellipse. In response to the Boston Marathon bombing, the road was closed to the public in its entirety for a period of two days.

The Pennsylvania Avenue closure has been opposed by organized civic groups in Washington, D.C. They argue that the closing impedes traffic flow unnecessarily and is inconsistent with the well-conceived historic plan for the city. As for security considerations, they note that the White House is set much farther back from the street than numerous other sensitive federal buildings are.

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Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

This oil on canvas portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy was painted by Aaron Shikler in 1970. It was done from sittings at her New York apartment several years after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. While there wasnt an official ceremony to unveil the Kennedy portraits, President Richard Nixon and First Lady Patricia Nixon hosted Jacqueline Kennedy and her children at the White House to see the portraits before they were publicly displayed. Her portrait was later placed on display in the East Room on February 5, 1971, alongside President Kennedys portrait. This portrait was a gift of the White House Historical Association.

The Road To The White House

The Obamas Return to White House for Portrait Unveiling

In 1892, Ivan Aivazovsky made a trip to the United States. By that time, he had already risen to prominence as a recognized artist in his native Russian Empire and abroad.

During his stay in the U.S., Aivazovsky held a personal exhibition In New York. The artist exhibited 24 canvases. Among them were the two above-mentioned paintings, named The Relief Ship and Distributing supplies, respectively.

View of the Fish Room. White House, Washington, D.C.

Known for his generous nature, Aivazovsky often presented his paintings as gifts. The Relief Ship and Distributing supplies went to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington.

President John F. Kennedy attends oath of office ceremony for United States Army nurses.

When JFK became president in 1961, the canvases moved to the White House at the initiative of Jacqueline Kennedy.

President John F. Kennedy laughs with Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, during an exchange of gifts in the Fish Room of the White House.

The paintings disappeared from public view in 1979, as they somehow ended up in a private collection, but resurfaced in 2008 at the Sotheby auction. There, they were sold for $2.4 million to a philanthropist who transferred them back to the Corcoran Gallery in Washington.

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Wednesdays Ceremony At The White House

The Obamas return to the White House marked a rare moment for the current and past administrations to converge and look back on a presidential legacy in the same room where President Obama awarded then-Vice President Biden a surprise Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2017.

Unlike the 2012 Bush portraits unveiling, Wednesdays event mostly hosted attendees from the same political party with some attendees having connections to both administrations.

The Obamas were joined by family, friends, former Cabinet members and top staffers from the administration during the unveiling, acknowledging former staff in the room as well as staff from the White House residence.

Barack And Michelle Obama Unveil Official Portraits In White House Ceremony

Washington Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama returned to the White House on Wednesday for the formal unveiling of their official White House portraits, revealing the paintings that will hang in the White House for years to come.

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted the couple for what marked Michelle Obama’s first visit to the White House since her husband left office in 2017. The former president visited the White House in April for a celebration of the anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

“Barack and Michelle, welcome home,” Mr. Biden told the Obamas Wednesday. “Welcome home.”

“It is great to be back,” Obama said after their portraits were unveiled. “Thank you so much for your hospitality. Thanks for letting us invite a few friends to the White House. We will try not to tear up the place.”

Mr. Biden lauded his former boss, telling him that “nothing could have prepared me better or more to become president of the United States than being at your side for eight years, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”

Artist Robert McCurdy painted the former president, and Sharon Sprung painted the former first lady.

“I wanted people to pass by the painting and recognize her, or be more curious even about her or to read more about her, but to get her,” Sprung said in a video about the process.

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Loans To The White House

Lending art to the White House is a tradition dating to the 1940s. Since the museums had growing collections of artworks and limited gallery space, the White House walls provided another outlet for displaying art. In 1961, Jackie Kennedy borrowed The Smoker by Eugène Delacroix to hang in the Red Room Lady Bird Johnson borrowed watercolors and drawings, which she hung in executive offices the Clintons borrowed two paintings, Folk Scene and Lift Up Thy Voice and Sing by African-American painter William H. Johnsonwhich remain in the White House today Obama loaned two paintings by Edward Hopper for the Oval Office from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, as well as Thomas Hill’s View of the Yosemite Valley from the New York Historical Society, to hang above the head table at his inaugural luncheon on his first day in office in 2009.

The National Gallery in Washington, DC and The Smithsonian have lent hundreds of artworks to the White House since 1945, with loans often extending through multiple administrations.

However, when the Trump administration requested to borrow a painting by Vincent van Gogh from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in September 2017, which many described as unusual, the museums chief curator Nancy Spector kindly declined. She countered with a replacement – a golden toilet America by Maurizio Cattelan. Many applauded her snarkiness, while others viewed it as highly inappropriate.

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Why Is Martha Dandridge Custis Washington Important To American History

The White House Oil Paintings Hand Painted Modern Abstract Landscape ...

She set the example for future first ladies, and is recognized for the bravery with which she met the deaths of all of her children. Martha Dandridge Custis Washington served as an example of personal courage in the harsh days of revolution and in a fragile new nation.

How did Martha Custis manage her estate?

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Art In The White House

The Avenue in the RainChilde HassamFifth AvenueOval OfficeBill ClintonBarack ObamaDonald TrumpJoe Biden

The White House‘s art collection, sometimes also called the White House Collection or Pride of the American Nation, has grown over time from donations from descendants of the Founding Fathers to commissions by established artists. It comprises paintings, sculptures, and other art forms. At times, the collection grows from a president’s specific request, such as when Ronald Reagan began collecting the work of naval artist Tom Freeman in 1986, a tradition that continued through the Obama years.

What These 5 Artworks From The White House Collection Tell Us About America

The White House collection of art may call to mind portraits of presidents through the ages, framed and hung along the corridors of power. But the collection also includes some curious and illuminating works that serve as reminders of the United States complex and loaded history, and its shifting values across the decades. We selected a handful of works that reveal pivotal moments from Americas past and remind usas the country embarks on the most divisive election cycle of recent historythat its one we all share.

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George Peter Alexander Healy The Peacemakers 1868

George Peter Alexander Healy, The Peacemakers, 1868. Image courtesy of the White House Collection/White House Historical Association.

In this intensely charged portrait of the Civil Wars Union heros, Alexander Healy captures a meeting that took place between President Lincoln, Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant, and Admiral David Porter in the cabin of Lincolns steamer boat, River Queen, just one month before the bloody ideological war came to a close. General Shermanthe visionary, firebrand general to the leftleads a discussion about the terms for peace while the others ruminate on his words. Depicted here as dignified, intellectual leaders, the four iconic American figures are framed by a patterned carpet and curtains in muted shades of red, white, and blue. A rainbow seen through the cabin window provides a not-so-subtle foreshadowing of the impending peace to come after the great storm of Americas battle to define the countrys values has passed.

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A Gallery Sells Hunter Bidens The White House Says It Wont Know Whos Buying

Hunter Bidens works are being offered for as much as $500,000 apiece his art dealer said he would follow ethics guidelines that the Biden administration helped to develop.

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By Graham Bowley and Robin Pogrebin

The Georges Bergès Gallery has sat on a chic stretch of SoHo for six years now, a relatively little-known newcomer in a New York art world that has long been dominated by name-brand power brokers like Pace Gallery and Gagosian.

This summer, however, it has unexpectedly become one of the most talked about galleries in the nation, thanks to its plans to sell works by another relative newcomer to the art world: a fledgling artist who happens to be the son of the president of the United States.

The gallery is planning to sell 15 works by Hunter Biden, and is asking as much as $500,000 apiece. The prices which are high for a novice artist have raised questions in Washington about whether the works might attract buyers seeking to curry favor with the Biden White House.

In response, the administration has helped to develop a set of ethics guidelines that call on the gallery to keep the identity of buyers and other details of the sales from both the artist and the administration.


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