Sculptures and paintings after photographs of a replica of the White House, from the book, The White House in Miniature.
From 1962-1975 the Family of Jan and John Zweifel labored to create an exact replica of the White House. In 1975, John and Jan announced “were taking the White House to the people.”
Came across the book “The White House in Miniature”, in an antique shop in Pittsfield, MA, in the United States, when showing there in the year 2006. Instantly liked the content of the book, not the least the main concept around the icon that the White House is and will be. I started wandering about possibilties relating to that matter. Where one would tacle the icon itself, its meaning and our needs for icon´s in general. I therefor decided to do my own replicas of the White House, both three-dimensional as well as a series of paintings. I worked from photographs from the before mentioned book. In the end I made three replicas, from different materials, plaster, concrete and clay. They are replicas after photographs of a replica. The paintings are also paintings after photographs of a replica. This process brought up the question, when does the replica stop being a replica of an original, getting its own identity. I´ve never seen the White House myself, never even been to Washington and don´t intend to.
In the book “The White House In Miniature”, the former president and Mrs. Gerald Ford, wrote a foreword:
The White House is owned by all Americans, but only a small number ever have the opportunity to visit it in person this great house of American History. John and Jan Zweifel wanted to recreate the home of the president and first lady in order to take it to the people, in all fifty states, who could not come to Washington. …Many many millions more Americans and foreign friends have “seen” the White house because of their splendid miniaturization.
The White House is a living symbol of the United States of America and the home of first families since 1800. Its unique history instills pride in our country’s democratic heritage. To come to the White house, or behold the Zweifel´s meticulous representation of the rooms, helps us to better understand our nation’s past and feel a sense of continuity with it. May the White house continue to inspire us, our children, and our children´s children-until the tricentennial, and beyond. Gerald and Betty Ford
From the book: “The White House in Miniature”, by Gail Buckland. (W.W. Norton & Company, New York – London)