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The Oval Office Interactive Experience

Portraits Collection

Biden Oval Office Portraits Paintings

Hamilton & Jefferson: Diametrically Opposed Foes

A pair of portraits depicting founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson are stacked on top of each other to the right of the fireplace. The notorious political rivals served together in President George Washington’s Cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State, respectively, where their conflicting policy views and personalities often clashed. This dynamic is most popularly depicted in the hit Broadway musical Hamilton.

Because the classic photography angle shows the President sitting directly in front of these paintings during meetings with national and foreign leaders, the pair occupies premium real estate on the wall. Joe Biden’s staff explained this intentional placement, characterizing the portraits as “hallmarks of how differences of opinion, expressed within the guardrails of the Republic, are essential to democracy.” Coming into his presidency at a moment of national tension, this choice of art is understood to showcase the benefit of hearing different perspectives and striving for bipartisanship.

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