Apollo
Rakewell

Own your own Oval Office

18 September 2020

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Reckon you could do a better job in the White House than Donald Trump? You’re probably not the only one. But for one lucky bidder, that dream will soon be a reality – or rather, they’ll soon be able to indulge in as much presidential roleplay as the Resolute desk can withstand. For on 14 October, Bonhams in New York is offering a full-scale facsimile of the Oval Office, ‘complete with wooden panels, a fireplace and furniture’. There’s even a copy in there of Childe Hassam’s The Avenue in the Rain (1917), which hung in the elliptical iterations of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The office is yours for $40,000–$60,000.

The Oval Office in replica. Courtesy Bonhams

The replica Oval Office is but one lot in the Bonhams American Presidential Experience Auction. The sale includes 76 artefacts that were collected by entrepreneur Jim Warlick and have appeared in his ‘non-partisan traveling education exhibition’, which has toured the States for two decades. If you’ve been hankering after travel in recent months, perhaps a recreation of the fuselage of the Kennedy Air Force One is just the thing?

A replica of the Kennedy Air Force One. Courtesy Bonhams

Oval Offices have proliferated across the US since the first presidential library (the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum) was opened in 1941. Most presidential libraries have them, kitted out as any particular president’s taste dictated. And at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport in Oregon, you can rent out an Oval Office for those essential airport meetings (‘the three dimensional wallpaper gives the impression of being able to step out into the Rose Garden’).

What to do with Jim Warlick’s Oval Office, should you be the winning bidder? Rakewell suggests following Trump’s lead: set it up as a shed-cum-gallery in your garden, and fill it with as much art as you can pilfer on your next embassy excursion.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.

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