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Paintings of the Red Room
An 1842 portrait of Angelica Van Buren, President Martin Van Buren's daughter-in-law and official hostess, hangs above the mantel in the Red Room. A white marble bust of Van Buren in the neoclassical style appears in the portrait; it is one of three busts of Van Buren executed by Hiram Powers, for whom the President posed in 1836. One of these busts is also located in the Red Room.
The distinctive oval design, chosen by John Frederick Kensett for its view of Niagara Falls, echoes the curve of the falls itself. America's natural beauties, and Niagara Falls in particular, were popular subjects for landscape painters in the 19th century.
Gilbert Stuart's 1804 portrait of Dolley Madison, hanging on the west wall of the Red Room, is the best-known depiction of the First Lady. Secretary of State, James Madison commissioned this likeness and one of himself. The paintings hung in the drawing room of their Virginia estate throughout his lifetime.