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)


(Maura McCarthy)

Nicolas De Stael
Oil on linen
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Nicolas De Stael, a French painter born in Russia in 1914, studied at the Académie Royale Des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. He traveled throughout Europe and Northern Africa before settling down in France. “He tried to create something between a landscape and an abstraction,” says Brougher. He used a style called impasto, in which paint is applied with a palette knife or brush so that the strokes stay visible. The inspiration for this painting is most likely the French town of Nice, where he lived during World War II.


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