An upcoming book, “AMERICA’S COLLECTION: The Art & Architecture of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U.S. Department of State” (Rizzoli Electa, September 5, 2023), offers a fascinating exploration of a little-known treasure of American art and architecture: 42 meticulously designed and decorated state rooms where secretaries of state and foreign dignitaries have gathered to conduct diplomacy in discreet yet elegant surroundings over the decades.
Tucked inside the Harry S. Truman Building in the center of Washington, D.C., the rooms were transformed into gems of classical architecture by the renowned architects Edward Vason Jones, Walter M. Macomber, John Blatteau, and Allan Greenberg. Expected to attract 100,000 visitors in 2023, the rooms are filled with exceptional art and artifacts showcasing aspects of the American character and the principles of the nation’s founders. Alongside their diplomatic function, the rooms house one of the world’s most important collections of American art. More than 5,000 works include paintings by John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Cole, and Albert Bierstadt; silver by Paul Revere and porcelain owned by George and Martha Washington and other presidential families; fine furniture; early maps and documents; and prints and drawings by Fanny Palmer, Childe Hassam, and others, as well as works important for their diplomatic associations.
Featuring a foreword by former Secretary of State John Kerry, the volume is organized as a series of essays including scholarly art-historical studies, illuminating explorations of the architecture and furnishings, as well as “reflections on the cultural traditions of America’s artisans.” Architectural drawings, archival images of events held in the rooms, and superb new photography of the rooms and the collection – produced primarily by the photographers Durston Saylor and Bruce M. White – fill its pages.
In his foreword, Kerry offered a personal reflection with echoes of the past and a message for the present.
Published by Rizzoli Electa in association with the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U.S. Department of State, the book will be available online and in stores. For more information, please visit The Diplomatic Reception Rooms Website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.