US & Canada

Museum offers gold toilet to Trump instead of Van Gogh's work - report

The fully functioning solid gold toilet created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan Image copyright Reuters

New York's Guggenheim museum has turned down a request from President Donald Trump to borrow Van Gogh's work for the White House - instead offering him a gold toilet, media reports say.

The museum apologised for not being able to furnish the White House with Van Gogh's Landscape With Snow, the Washington Post says.

But the Guggenheim suggested a "solid, 18-karat toilet" could be offered as an alternative.

The White House has made no comment.

According to the Washington Post, museum curator Nancy Spector responded to the White House request last September.

Image copyright Guggenheim
Image caption The museum said it could not loan out Van Gogh's Landscape With Snow

"I am sorry... to inform you that we are unable to participate in this loan since the painting is part of the museum's Thannhauser Collection, which is prohibited from travel except for the rarest of occasions," she wrote in an email.

The 1888 Van Gogh painting, the email added, would be exhibited at the museum's sister institution with the permission of the owners.

However, the curator added that the gold toilet created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan was available to the White House "for a long-term loan".

"It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care," Ms Spector added.

The fully functional exhibit - titled America - is seen as a pointed satire on excessive wealth in the US.

But not everyone agreed with the Guggenheim's approach:

It is common for US presidents and first ladies to borrow major art works to decorate the various rooms at the White House.