Oval Office makeover

No more Texas landscapes in Obama’s room

Now that Barack Obama has settled into the Oval Office, the decorative china plates, Texas landscapes, and the bust of Winston Churchill that once adorned the room according to George W. Bush’s tastes have all been replaced. Instead, the president has opted for Native American pottery and mechanical devices from the 1800s (a telegraph register, a gear-cutting machine and a feathering paddlewheel for steamboats), on loan from national museums. These reflect Obama’s “interest in American history, his interest in technology and his interest in the creative spirit,” according to the White House curator. There is also a bust of Martin Luther King Jr., and a framed program from the 1963 March on Washington where the “I have a dream” speech was first heard. Upon Obama’s request, traditional paintings such as Norman Rockwell’s “Statue of Liberty” were hung back up alongside other art including a Rembrandt Peale painting of George Washington. There are more personal touches too: a bowl of apples on the coffee table and M&Ms on hand, both Obama family favourites. And a whole table full of framed photos, including ones of Obama’s daughters and of the day he married Michelle. Clearly, the president is sentimental, and takes his redecorating seriously, as he told Oprah Winfrey recently: “This office, I think, reminds you of what’s at stake, how many hopes and dreams are placed in what goes on here at the White House.”

Associated Press

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