What art is hanging at the White House or another location? Knowing what you know about the period characteristics and themes, why might these pieces have been chosen?
Several presidents have come and gone over the years and some tend to leave their own persoanl mark on the White House with the paintings they choose to display throughout the White House. I chose three instances during the twentieth century and even some years after which show how the art displayed has changed.
In 1963, after John F. Kennedy’s assasination, Impressionist Claude Monet’s painting entitled “Mornings on the Seine” was donated to be placed in the White House. Kennedy was a very adventurous, outdoorsy, nature-loving man. This painting shows a scene on a river in real time and the viewer sees it as it is. It also gives off a very calming and serene like feeling. It definitely embodies JFK’s style and emotion towards the great outdoors. This may have been the reason why “Mornings on the Seine” was chosen to be placed in the White House; as a remembrance or some type of memorial for Kennedy.
In 1966, Landscape artist Thomas Moran had the honor of having his painting placed in the White House as well during Lyndon B. Johnson’s term. It has been there ever since because it is said to represent the American landscape throught its permanent collection. I can see why it’s still there. This is a beautiful painting capturing nature as it is, similar to Monet’s painting. There is a peacefulness and calmness about it which allows the viewer to connect to it and imagine that they are actually there, especially during stressful times in the White House when the president just needs to clear their mind and relax. This painting is also important to the White House because it inspired Congress to make the decision of forming one of the first national parks.
Laura Bush acquired a Modernist painting by Jacob Lawrence called “The Builders” in 2007. This painting was created during the end of World War II in 1947 when the world was still in much ciaos. This particular painting shows the type of teamwork that may have been taking place in order to “build up” their societies. The way it is painted displays the characteristic of fragmentation because, upon first glance, there seems to be sections blocked off and has a geometric feel to it. Also the people and ladders are painted in two dimension so the full work has a flattening appearance. “The Builders” is probably still in the White House because of its essential idea of many people working together towards a common goal which is an important concept to think about when serving as a president.