Earlier this week, the victorious US Solheim Cup Team spent a couple of days in the nation's capital.
They toured the town, attended receptions and struck touristy poses at monuments and memorials. They were also given a full tour of the White House which included a get-together with President Obama in the Oval Office.
There was plenty of animated conversation about golf, including the revelation that the Commander-in-Chief had made his first birdie a couple of weeks ago in Hawaii. The President's palpable golf passion certainly made for a natural connection with the ladies of the LPGA. However the team's top ranked golfer, Cristie Kerr, discovered she had an additional affinity with the President: a painting by American Impressionist, Frederick Childe Hassam, brought to light a shared interest in art.
Cristie and her husband Erik have been avid art collectors for a number of years, with a particular interest in the art of the American Southwest, where they have a home in the AZ desert. The Obamas (who went to the Art Institute of Chicago on one of their first dates) are long-time art aficionados as well, but lean towards modern art and black-and-white photography.
Ironically, the painting that sparked the conversation was The Avenue in the Rain (1917), French-influenced and ethereal, and one of Childe Hassam's most impressionistic. It features a row of American flags and their blurred reflections on New York's rain soaked Fifth Avenue, and it's been part of the White House collection since the Kennedy administration... but it had been put into storage during the Bush administration, replaced by a Texas landscape. President Obama brought it back to the Oval Office when he moved in. Without overt reference to soldiers or war, F. C. Hassam's The Avenue in the Rain makes a distinct patriotic statement that clearly resonates with both the golf champion and the President.