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Entrance and Cross Halls Art and Furnishings
Picture of North Entrance The large Entrance Hall and Cross Hall formed part of James Hoban's original plans for the White House. The basic design has not been altered, although modifications have been made during various renovations. During the 19th century two principal stairways led to the second floor. The broad staircase at the west end of the Cross Hall was removed in 1902 to increase the size of the State Dining Room. At the same time, the remaining stairway, opening into the Cross Hall, was enlarged. During the 1948-52 renovation, this stairway was repositioned to open into the Entrance Hall.

The Cross Hall, with marble walls and floors added during the Truman renovation, is lighted by two Adam-style cut-glass chandeliers made in London about 1775. The bronze light standards date from the Roosevelt renovation of 1902 as does the design of the decorative plaster ceiling.

Other Presidential portraits hang at the east end of the Cross Hall:Lyndon Johnson by Elizabeth Shoumatoff, Gerald Ford by Everett Raymond Kinstler, and Jimmy Carter by Herbert E. Abrams. A portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt painted by Frank O. Salisbury hangs at the west end of the hall.

Picture of Staircase

The Entrance Hall is seen by visitors as they leave the White House. It is set off from the Cross Hall by a colonnade and is decorated in the same style. Its furnishings include a French pier table purchased by Monroe in 1817 and a pair of French settees with carved mahogany swans' heads. A suite of early 19th-century Italian gilded furniture in the Empire style was placed in the halls in 1973. Herbert E. Abrams' portrait of George Bush hangs in the Entrance hall as does Aaron Shikler's portrait of John F. Kennedy.

The Grand Staircase is often used on ceremonial occasions. Before state dinners, the President greets his guests of honor in the Yellow Oval Room; then they descend the stairs to the East Room where the other guests are gathered. Along the stairway hang portraits of 20th century Presidents, including Harry S. Truman by Greta Kempton, Dwight D. Eisenhower by J. Anthony Wills, Richard Nixon also by J. Anthony Wills, Herbert Hoover by Elmer W. Greene, and Warren Harding by F. Luis Mora; a portrait of Mrs. William Howard Taft by Bror Kronstrand is also in the stairway. Above the American pier table on the landing is F. Graham Cootes' painting of Woodrow Wilson. An English cut-glass chandelier from about 1810 to 1815 lights the stairway at the first landing.

The Center and Cross Halls also serve as the visitors' exit for the White House Tour. Here visitors exit the main doors of the North Entrance to the White House.

Blue Room | China Room | Entrance and Cross Halls | Diplomatic Reception Room
East Room | Green Room | Library | Map Room | Red Room
State Dining Room | Vermeil Room

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