A post on the White House blog announced that two paintings by American artist Edward Hopper have been added to the wall of the Oval Office, while a rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln was removed. The copy had been there since Martin Luther King Day in 2010 when it was borrowed from the Smithsonian, but was removed over preservation concerns due to exposure to light:
Another notable change to the items hanging in the Oval Office is the removal of a rare printed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. As a document on paper, it needed prolonged rest from further exposure to light. As a loan to the White House, its preservation required its removal.
The White House provided a photo of the president contemplating the paintings that were added when the Emancipation Proclamation was removed:
The White House describes the paintings as follows:
Two paintings by Edward Hopper (1882–1967), widely recognized as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, were hung in the Oval Office on Friday, February 7, 2014. Cobb’s Barns, South Truro, and Burly Cobb’s House, South Truro -- oil on canvas works painted in 1930-33 on Cape Cod -- have been lent by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the world’s largest repository of Hopper’s works.
Emblematic examples of his work, the two paintings lent by the Whitney Museum capture the strong sense of atmosphere and light as well as the empty stillness that characterize much of Hopper’s imagery. They also demonstrate Hopper’s fascination with the various forms of this country’s vernacular architecture -- a subject he would return to again and again, resulting in some of the most enduring images of American art.