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The tradition of Smithsonian museums loaning art to the White House began in the 1940s. (iStockphoto)

Decorating the White House with Smithsonian Art

Continuing a Washington tradition, the Obamas selected artwork from the Smithsonian collections to hang in their historic home

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Study for Homage to the Square Nacre
(Maura McCarthy)

Josef Albers
1965
Oil on fiberboard
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

By the time of his death in 1976, Albers had produced more than 1,000 works in the Homage to the Square series. He called the works “platters for color” because he used the pigments right out of the tubes instead of mixing them to create unique colors. He was investigating the ways colors interact—in this case, how the light grays affect the light blue. Although a part of the series, this piece is smaller because it’s a study for a larger piece.

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