New York's Guggenheim Museum has turned down US President Donald Trump’s request to borrow Van Gogh's work for the White House and offered him a gold toilet instead, claim media reports. It is a common practice for US presidents and first ladies to borrow major artworks for decorating various rooms at the White House. The museum issued an apology for not being able to furnish the White House with Van Gogh's Landscape With Snow and offered a "solid, 18-karat toilet" as an alternative.
The White House has made no comment on this. According to the Washington Post, museum curator Nancy Spector responded to the White House request last September. "I am sorry... to inform you that we are unable to participate in this loan since the painting is part of the museum's Thannhauser Collection, which is prohibited from travel except for the rarest of occasions," she wrote in an email.
The email further added that the 1888 Van Gogh painting would be exhibited at the museum's sister institution with the permission of the owners. The curator added in her reply that the gold toilet created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan was available to the White House "for a long-term loan". The fully functional commode titled America is seen as a satirical take on the excessive wealth in the US. "It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care," Ms Spector added.
“We are sorry not to be able to accommodate your original request, but remain hopeful that this special offer may be of interest,” the curator concluded.