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

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


Homage to the Square Elected II
(Maura McCarthy)

Josef Albers
Oil on fiberboard
Hishhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Josef Albers, a German-born artist who moved to the United States to flee the Nazis, taught at the famous Bauhaus school in Germany and was interested in color theory. “Around 1950, he developed this color theory in which he used three colors in the same composition over and over again,” Brougher says, adding that Albers pursued the idea until his death in 1976.


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