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White House Decorative Arts in the 1990s

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President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush resided in the White House for the 1992 bicentennial of the laying of its cornerstone. First Lady Barbara Bush appointed curators and art historians to a revived Committee for the Preservation of the White House. The committee established procedures to review objects for the collection and recommended the acquisition of a mahogany card table with Charles-Honoré Lannuier's label. A sample of the Lincoln state porcelain service was donated, as were pieces of the Lincoln glassware. Barbara Bush also worked to activate the White House Endowment Fund under the White House Historical Association. The goal was to raise an endowment for acquisitions, the refurbishing of the public rooms, and conservation of the collection.

President and Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton moved to the White House in 1993. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton continued to support the White House Endowment Fund, and through her efforts its 25 million-dollar goal was met in 1998. President Clinton appointed members to the preservation committee to broaden its expertise, and Mrs. Clinton sought its advice for the 1995 refurbishment of the Blue Room and the East Room. The Entrance Hall, Cross Hall and Grand Staircase were refurbished in 1997, and the State Dining Room in 1998. Many objects came into the collection during the Clinton years, including a pair of eighteenth-century mahogany chairs with a history of having been purchased in 1789 for George Washington's first presidential residence in New York.

Side Chair. Philadelphia, c. 1760-85. Acquisitions for the permanent White House collection under the Clintons included a pair of chairs that may have been from a group of "plain" mahogany chairs purchased in 1789 for George Washington from cabinetmaker and merchant Thomas Burling.

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