Trump's request for Van Gogh denied, gold toilet offered instead

The 18-karat gold toilet in all its glory.
The 18-karat gold toilet in all its glory. Photo credit: Guggenheim / Maurizio Cattelan

US President Donald Trump's request for a painting by legendary Dutch impressionist Vincent van Gogh has been rebuffed, but he has been offered a toilet made of solid, 18-karat gold instead.

The Guggenheim art museum, which fielded the query from the White House, offered the piece as an alternative to van Gogh's 'Mountains at Saint-Rémy' or 'Landscape With Snow'.

The artwork, created by Italian Maurizio Cattelan, is provokingly entitled 'America', and is a commentary on the nation's concentration of wealth at the top and the "extravagant luxury" only obtainable by "the 1 percent".

"Cattelan's toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market, but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all - its utility ultimately reminding us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity," a description of the art on the Guggenheim website explains.

Guggenheim chief curator Nancy Spector wrote to the Trumps, saying that while it didn't have quite the art they were after available, it was happy to send 'America' to them in its place "should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House".

"[We] would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan," wrote Ms Spector, in a letter that was obtained by The Washington Post.

"It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care."

Ms Spector is known to be a detractor of President Trump.

It is not yet known whether the White House will take up her offer.


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