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1961–67 Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy THE WHITE HOUSE W A S H I N G T O N , D. C .

J

A N S E N ’ S W O R K AT T H E

W H I T E H O U S E I N T H E 1960 S F O R P R E S I D E N T and Mrs. John F. Kennedy has been given near-iconic status in the history of American decorative arts and design. It is doubtful that any later occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue had, or will have, the freedom to redefine the presidential stage to such an extent as did the Kennedys. These interiors are part of a mythical legacy, the backdrop to the martyred president’s administration and political ambitions. For Jansen, and specifically for Stéphane Boudin, these same interiors represented somewhat of a swan song. It was Boudin’s greatest postwar commission and the firm’s most celebrated American work. As with so many of Jansen’s accomplishments in the post–World War II United States, the White House project was initiated by Jayne Wrightsman, the wife of oil millionaire Charles B. Wrightsman and a dedicated and eager student of Stéphane Boudin. In 1959 she introduced Boudin to Jacqueline Kennedy, then the wife of the junior senator from Massachusetts. At the end of her letter of introduction, Wrightsman postscripted a wise observation: “some day she may be First Lady.” Boudin became both a confidant and tutor for Kennedy, initially advising her on the decoration of her Georgetown townhouse. They communicated in every way possible, from telegrams to telephone calls, letters, and the occasional cartoon via the first lady’s talented hand. Boudin attended the exclusive 1962 White House dinner in honor

OPPOSITE: RED ROOM, 1962

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Jansen: Decoration (excerpt)  

Jansen showcases 30 of the company's most alluring commissions, including rooms for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Shah and Shahbanou...

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