The Eyes

The Eyes

Monday, January 14, 2013

Art in The First Family's Private Quarters at The White House

With each new Administration, the first family fills their private living quarters and office space with art from the Smithsonian and The White House art collection. The Obamas share their daily life with a rich mix of American artists across a wide range of genres and artistic movements, choosing more modern and abstract work than has ever hung on The White House walls.

The collection they assembled, with advice from White House and local museum curators, includes 45 pieces borrowed from various Washington museums and galleries including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Gallery of Art. The artists include Josef Albers, Richard Diebenkorn, Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer, Jasper Johns, William H. Johnson, Alma Thomas, and many others.

Berkeley No. 52 (1955)
Richard Diebenkorn
Watusi (Hard Edge) (1963)
Alma Thomas




















The president is even showcasing American ingenuity in the Oval Office by displaying three mechanical devices on loan from the National Museum of American History's patent collection: models for Samuel Morse's 1849 telegraph register, John Peer's 1874 gear-cutting machine, and Henry Williams' 1877 feathering paddlewheel for steamboats. President Obama chose more traditional Oval Office artwork including Childe Hassam's The Avenue in the Rain, an impressionist view of New York's flag-bedecked Fifth Avenue, and Norman Rockwell's colorful Statue of Liberty (seen below), in addition to several presidential portraits.

Oval Office Detail of Frederic Remington 
sculpture The Bronco Buster 
and Rockwell’s Statue of Liberty
Detail of Oval Office bookshelf with
Native American pottery
and patent samples























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