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 Midday
(Maura McCarthy)

Josef Albers
Oil on fiberboard
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

After leaving Germany, Albers went on to teach at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina. There, he taught such artists as Robert Rauschenberg. The titles for his Homage to the Square series were usually abstract. “I don’t think he was interested in a one to one correspondence between the title and the color, but Midday really does seem to correspond to the title,” Brougher says. The bright orange and yellow surrounded by blue suggest the sun at noon.


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