Visitor John M asks three questions I can’t answer….
When Mrs. Kennedy gave her famous tour in 1962 she spent considerable time in the newly restored Red Room. She mentioned two chairs by the desk between the windows as grateful acquisitions perhaps from the Tyler administration. What ever happened to those chairs?
Also, Boudin had approved changes from Mrs. Kennedy for the Vermeil and China rooms in 1963. Were any of these changes implemented during the Johnson administration? If so were the rooms photographed?
Finally, why did they choose to place William McKinley’s portrait in the East Room? As for the other portraits I understand Washington and his wife as he laid the cornerstone and they were the original first couple. I understand TR because he was responsible for the interior architecture via McKim, Mead, and White. In my opinion they should balance out the male/female portraits and remove McKinley and replace it with Shikler’s portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy who helped create the White House Historical Society and establish the permanent collection of historic antiques.
I don’t think the WH comments on why certain portraits are placed where they are. I’m sure –for all administrations–it’s a combination of curatorial historical expertise and vicious partisanship. 😉
In the cut-away view of the White House in the 5th (Johnson) edition of the White House Guidebook, the China and Vermiel rooms are shown as having the grey walls that Boudin planned and which – according to the book “Designing Camelot” (see resources page) – began to be implemented in 1963. I’ve never seen pics of these rooms in their Boudin decoration. There are no pics of them in the early guidebooks and by the time the revised Nixon guidebooks came out (which included the China and Vermeil Rooms) those rooms were said to have been completely redocorated in 1970-71.
Haven’t see those chairs from the Red Room that Jackie identifies as “Way before Linclon, either Van Buren or Tyler” – anywhere around since Nixon’s re-do of the redroom in 1971/72. Anybody?
I’m all for hanging Jacqueline Kennedy in the East Room! Along with Dolley Madison. (there’s gotta be a better way to say that… 🙂
I don’t have a problem with where they put paintings, I think that everywhere I’d walk if I were president I’d want to see the paintings of the guys from my party that inspired me. Or heck even not from my party so long as they inspired me.
Jacqueline Kennedy’s portrait would be entirely appropriate for the East Room. The State Floor rooms we see today are basically unchanged from her original ideas. Can you imagine what the house would have looked like had the Kennedys completed their term in office?
I wonder if McKinley was chosen for the size of the frame, to match TR on the other end of the room.
I can think of no historical reason to put McKinley in the East Room as he did nothing for the White House itself. I think TR is quite appropriate. I don’t know who I would put up in place of McKinley. I doubt that I would add JBK.
Actually, the East Room still reflects, as it always has, the TR/McKim renovation. In fact, the Fireplace mantels have had JBK’s white paint removed and returned to their natural color.
“I wonder if McKinley was chosen for the size of the frame, to match TR”
Oh, what ignominy! To be chosen as decor not for your stature but for your size!
Yeah, I think the Jackie picture would be too small.