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Iconic Norman Rockwell works of art are taken off the White House walls- POLITICO

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The Thomas Crown affair this is not. But priceless pieces of art have been removed from the White House and it’s not yet abundantly clear why.

Four NORMAN ROCKWELL panels of watercolor and black-and-white sketches featuring the White House—which have been displayed in the building since 1978—have been taken off the walls.

Much of the “So You Want to See the President” series shows various Americans, such as top military officers and senators, waiting in the White House for time with the president. The titles of the sketches are “Gentleman of the Press,” “Beauty and Publicity Man,” “The Press Get a News Flash” and “A Hero is Interviewed.” Objects like the “President’s gas mask,” “the President’s lunch,” and “the Visitors’ Hatrack” are also depicted in the sketches.

Two people familiar with the matter said the family that owns the art wanted them back — and got its request granted sometime last year. All the works were originally on display in the lower press hallway but moved to the hallway between the upper press area and the Roosevelt Room during GEORGE W. BUSH‘s administration. The sketches originated from a visit Rockwell made to the White House in 1943 during which he spent time in the Reception Room.

BETTY MONKMAN, who worked on the White House curatorial staff from 1967 until 2002 when she retired as its chief curator, told West Wing Playbook the sketches were slow by the descendants of STEVE EARLY, who was FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT‘s press secretary. She said Rockwell gave the prints to Early. A person familiar with the matter said that several jumbo photos of Biden have since replaced the Rockwell prints, which also were featured in the “Saturday Evening Post” in 1943.

West Wing Playbook made valiant efforts over the last few days to reach descendants of Early, and has reached out to the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, former Virginia Gov. George Allen (who’s from Earlysville, Va. — named after the Early family), and the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society (where Earlysville is located). But we did not get any fruitful responses. A request to the White House to pass along a message to the Early family also received no reply from the family.

Depending on the market, Rockwell’s works on paper have sold in the last two years for between $50,000 and $200,000, he said BARBARA SUSSMAN, who has appraised numerous Rockwell artworks. “The fact that these pieces came from the White House adds a level of celebrity ownership which could add a layer of value but to value then you would need to have them professionally appraised,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., said the museum doesn’t comment on the value of the artist’s work.

Despite the removal of the loaners, one Rockwell artwork remains in the White House: “Working on the Statue of Liberty,” a donation Steven Spielberg made in 1994, which President BILL CLINTON placed in the Oval Office. During the early parts of the Biden administration, the painting was moved upstairs to the residence, according to one White House official.

Monkman said around “500 to 600” pieces of art are in the White House collection, including paintings, sketches and sculptures, in addition to “a huge print collection.” Other famous artists in the White House collection include WINSLOW HOMER, REMBRANDT PEALE, JOHN SINGER SARGENT and GEORGIA O’KEEFE. Many of the paintings are portraits of presidents and famous Americans but also feature landscapes highlighting the breadth of American geography.

The first painting the White House ever had in its collection was a GILBERT STUART portrait of GEORGE WASHINGTONpurchased by the US government when JOHN ADAMS became the first White House resident. Presidents have also been painters, including Eisenhower, who used to paint at Camp David, and GEORGE W. BUSH, who took up the paintbrush after leaving office — though their works have not adorned the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., at least not yet.

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With the White House Historical Association

What was the name of the first White House social secretary and under which first lady did the person work under?

(Answer at the bottom)

REPLY ALL: Some people in the White House communications team were apparently not pleased with the Daily Beast reporter ZACH PETRIZZO‘s pool reports. On Tuesday, Petrizzo sent a report saying the White House press briefing had been “PUSHED” [capitalization, his]. White House press wrangler ANGELA PEREZ, whose job often entails sending along press pool reports, sent a seemingly accidental response to all the recipients on the email distribution list asking: “Why does he type like this. Why.”

So, we asked Zach: Why? “I’m not sure why she is upset with capital letters,” he replied. “I cover the White House with equal parts gusto and grievance, just like I do with both parties. If I’m doing it wrong, I would love to learn from seasoned veterans at the White House.”

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE WANTS YOU TO READ: This WaPo piece by DAN LAMOTHE about how the president awarded Medal of Freedom to four Vietnam War soldiers Tuesday: “The men served in the Army and previously had received lower-level decorations for their battlefield gallantry. But after years of deliberation, senior military officials decided to upgrade each of their awards, and Biden approved.”

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T WANT YOU TO READ: Este EDWARD ISAAC DOVERE story in CNN featuring lots of Democrats fuming about Biden’s leadership (mostly anonymously). Dovere describes White House as “exhausted from feeling forever on red alert, batting at a swarm of crises that keeps growing.”

He also cites “several officials” saying that “Biden’s tendency to berate advisers when he’s displeased with how a situation is being handled or when events go off poorly has trickled down the ranks in the West Wing, leaving several mid-level aides feeling blamed for failings despite lacking any real ability to influence the building’s decision-making.”

Oh, and one last bit. Dovere writes that on a recent call with White House aides the actress DEBRA MESSING was ripping mad about an apparent absence of overall strategy around the Supreme Court’s striking down of gnaws. Overall, a tough piece for those Biden aides who are also Will & Grace fans.

KNIVES OUT: As Democrats fume about what they say is the White House’s flat-footed response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. WadeDovere also reports that White House counsel DANA REMUS had assured senior aides the high court wouldn’t rule on abortion on that Friday, June 24.

CONGRATS?: The LA Times’ NOAH BIERMAN reports that Vice President kamala harris have a chance of setting the record for breaking more Senate ties than any other vice president in American history.

“Harris has broken 23 tie votes since taking office and has a strong shot at surpassing the record in coming months. The only vice presidents who have broken more ties are John Adams (29) and John C. Calhoun (31), each of whom served two terms in the 18th and early 19th centuries, respectively, when the Senate was less than half its current size .”

CURRENT FIREWORKS: President JOE BIDEN hosted the annual White House July 4 celebration yesterday. While most attendees told POLITICO they enjoyed the festivities, others noted logistical problems getting led to long waits and hurt feelings.

However, a number of high profile current and former administration figures were in attendance. According to several tipsters, DOUG JONES, SUSAN RICE, KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, DENNIS MCDONOUGH, JAKE SULLIVAN, VINCE EVANS, SYMONE SANDERS and SHAWN TOWNEND, TJ DUCKLO, EMMY RUIZ, Andrew Bates and MEGAN APPER, ROB FLAHERTY and CARLA FRANKand MICHAEL LAROSA were there, as were former “The View” host star jones and Rep. NIKEMA WILLIAMS.

NEW ADVISER ALERT: DEANNE MILLISON has been promoted to Harris’s new chief economic adviser“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”https://twitter.com/justinsink/status/1544311269934743558?s=21&t=8krXEK9jKFHXwU6gwWgGVg”,”_id”:”00000181-d0eb-df32-ab81-deebcc240000″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”00000181-d0eb-df32-ab81-deebcc240001″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>new chief economic adviserBloomberg’s JUSTIN SINK scooped. Millson is “expected to push on opening financial services to underserved communities, student loans [and] broadband.”

MEDIA PUNDIT TO ADVISER PIPELINE: The FDA is eyeing VIN GUPTAa pulmonologist and frequent NBC and MSNBC guest, to become the agency’s principal medical adviser, our ADAM CANCRYN reports. The role would also put Gupta in charge of the FDA’s communications strategy, in an effort to bolster trust in the agency’s health recommendations.

SOUTH OF THE BORDER: The New York Times’ NATALIE KITROEFF and MARIA ABI-HABIB have an interesting report on the US ambassador to Mexico, KEN SALAZAR, and fears about how he is handling the job. “Administration officials fear that the US ambassador’s cozy relationship with the Mexican president has backfired,” they write, “and may be setting back American interests in the region.”

DEPARTURE LOUNGE: ALEX YUDELSON is leaving the White House, where he has served as executive secretary of the Domestic Policy Council, Daniel has also learned. Yudelson worked in the Obama White House under VALERIE JARRETT and YOHANNES ABRAHAM and served as chief of staff for the city of Rochester, NY He is attending Stanford Law School in the fall.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION: The State Department announced Tuesday the nomination of RICHARD NEPHEWto serve as a coordinator for combating corruption globallyour ARI HAWKINS reports.

OIL POLICY: Reuters reported this morning that “more than 5 million barrels of oil that were part of a historic US emergency oil reserves release aimed at lowering domestic fuel prices were exported to Europe and Asia last month.”

Asked about it at the briefing, Press Secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE said she “hadn’t seen that report.”

FULL OF HOT AIR: The Pentagon is working on adding high-altitude balloons to its arsenal — yes, you read that right, balloons. Flying at about 60,000 and 90,000 feet, the balloons would be part of the department’s surveillance network and could be used to track hypersonic weapons later on, our LEE HUDSON reports. The Pentagon has spent about $3.8 million on balloon projects the past two years and is set to spend $27.1 million in the next fiscal year.

US Aims to Expand Export Bans on China Over Security and Human Rights (NYT’s Edward Wong and Ana Swanson)

Time is running out to confirm Biden’s nominees (WaPo’s Theodoric Meyer and Leigh Ann Caldwell)

Travels with Marty: As labor secretary, Walsh hits the road for the Biden administration (Boston Globe’s Jim Puzzanghera)

ISABELLA HAGNERa salaried executive clerk assigned to first lady EDITH ROOSEVELT in 1901, is known as the first White House Social Secretary. And according to the White House Historical Associationthe two became pretty close.

The first lady “took Belle under her wing, shopping with her, stealing off to Belle’s succession of tiny apartments for supper before theater performances, and often inviting Belle to join the family at Sagamore Hill. Belle was sociable and fun-loving, with a great sense of humor that quickly made her fast friends with the entire lively Roosevelt family.”

TO CALL OUT — Think you have a more difficult trivia question? Send us your best on the presidents with a citation and we may feature it.

Edited by Eun Kyung Kim and Sam Stein.

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