January 25, 2018
The White House requested a Van Gogh, but got a golden toilet instead
A White House request to loan a Vincent Van Gogh painting was reportedly rejected by an art gallery who offered another artwork instead – a golden toilet.
The Washington Post has reported that it was hoped the 19th century Van Gogh would hang in the private quarters of Donald Trump and his wife Melania.
However Nancy Spector, chief curator at the Guggenheim – the New York museum which housed the work – was said to have rejected the request and made a counter-offer.
Ms Spector proposed to loan an 18-karat solid gold toilet, which was fully functioning, to the White House in an email seen by The Washington Post.
It was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House,” Ms Spector reportedly wrote.
She said the artist “would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan”, adding: “It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”
The White House requested a Van Gogh, but got a golden toilet instead

The work of art, entitled America, was created by Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian contemporary artist, and was recently on display in the museum. It has been described by critics as a satire of modern-day excess.
The work is a far cry from Van Gogh’s ‘Landscape with Snow’ painting initially requested, which dates from 1888 and shows a man in a black hat walking his dog.
Asked to explain the work and why he offered it to Mr Trump, Mr Cattelan told The Washington Post: “It’s a very delicate subject.”
The White House requested a Van Gogh, but got a golden toilet instead
He reportedly added: “What’s the point of our life? Everything seems absurd until we die and then it makes sense.”
Previously, Mr Cattelan has descried the golden toilet as a “one-percent art for the ninety-nine percent”.
“Whatever you eat, a two-hundred-dollar lunch or a two-dollar hot dog, the results are the same, toilet-wise,” he reportedly added.
The Washington Post reported that Sara Eaton, a Guggenheim spokeswoman, confirmed the email was sent on September 15 last year to Donna Hayashi Smith of the White House’s Office of the Curator.
The White House and Guggenheim have been approached for comment.
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