Living with Art, When your House is the White House

Alma Thomas, Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers

Not on display in the White House, but frequently on display in our galleries. Alma Thomas, Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers, 1968. Acrylic on canvas, 57 7/8 x 50 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of Franz Bader, 1976.

What kind of D.C.-based blog would we be if we didn’t write about the president now and again? Yesterday L Magazine explored the works of art selected to hang on the walls of the Obama White House and what they might say about the current residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. When the list of 45 works selected from United States institutions and private collections was made public back in 2009, there was plenty of discussion about the choices. Here at the Phillips, we were pleased to see quite an affinity between the first family’s selections and our own collection:  Albers, Degas, Rothko, Diebenkorn, de Stael, and Thomas. Personally, I think I agree with the New York Times‘s Holland Cotter’s assessment that the painting by Alma Thomas might be one of my top picks for my own home. Though honestly, I wouldn’t turn any of them down.

If you had the power of the president to select works of art with which to live, what would you chose?