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Norman Rockwell looses out to Joe Biden

Since 1978, four paintings by that most American of artists, Norman Rockwell, have hung in the White House. Rockwell’s World War II-era “So You Want to See the President” series depicts a vanished America, including, among others, newspaper-reading photographers cooling their heels, waiting for “newsworthy fare”; a woman dressed in yellow and sitting primly and ramrod-straight, incongruously wearing a “Miss America” sash; and next to her, a slouching baldheaded fellow, camera at his feet. But no more: Politico reported Tuesday that these “priceless pieces of art have been removed from the White House and it’s not yet abundantly clear why.” Even better, they’ve been replaced by massive photos of everybody’s favorite pseudo-president, Old Joe Biden himself.

Politico is uncertain as to why the Rockwells are gone. It reports that “two people familiar with the matter said the family that owns the art wanted them back — and got its request granted sometime last year.” Politico was able to find out where the paintings came from. “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 lent by the descendants of Steve Early, who was Franklin Roosevelt’s press secretary. She said Rockwell gave the prints to Early.”

Politico didn’t have as much success in finding out exactly where the paintings went and why. No one seems interested in talking about why the paintings were removed from Biden’s White House: “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.”

Story continues at: Rockwell Goes

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Joe Messina

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