Art Connections of Presidential Candidates Obama, Romney

  • October 08, 2012 22:37

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Painter and printmaker Will Barnet received a 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.
Photo by Anthony Brown, Imigination Photography.

President Barack Obama has filled the White House with largely vibrant abstract artworks by the likes of Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Rauschenberg; 47 pieces are on loan from the national collections.

Obama's connection to the visual arts has been emphasized with his story of taking first lady Michelle on their first date to Art Institute of Chicago. His earlier campaign centered on the word "Hope," inspired by a painting by 19th-century British symbolist George Frederic Watts. As president, Obama has awarded the National Medal of Arts to visual artists Frank Stella, Mark di Suvero, Will Barnet and Martin Puryear.

What would Republican candidate Mitt Romney pick for the presidential residence if he were elected?

It is unknown what, if any, art currently hangs in Romney's own home, but he does have an 18th-century English portraitist as an ancestor.

George Romney (1734-1802), who bore the same name as the candidate's father, ranked behind only Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough as the top English portrait painter of his era and Washington museums house many examples of his work.

The National Gallery of Art notes the artist Romney was "introverted and neurotic," refusing to accept an invitation to join the Royal Academy.

Romney has stated that there will be "deep reductions" in funding for the National Endowment of the Arts if he were elected.

Obama cut NEA funding in the 2011-12 budget by 13.3 percent, although his proposed 2013 budget includes a 5.5 percent increase in the NEA budget to $154 million.

Read more at Chicago Tribune

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