New York Loans its Yosemite to Inauguration

Thomas Hill painting serves as backdrop at presidentail luncheon

There's a little bit of New-York Historical Society at today's inauguration luncheon in Washington D.C.

The museum owns the Thomas Hill painting of “View of the Yosemite Valley,” which is the featured artwork at the presidential luncheon, serving as the backdrop for the head table.

"President Lincoln is also the inspiration for the painting we have chosen today," U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said during the televised portion of the luncheon. "And this is the view of the Yosemite Valley, which of course happens to be in California, by Thomas Hill, a 19th century painter that I very much love. It's on loan from the New-York Historical Society, so it kind of binds New York and California . As a country struggled to emerge from the turmoil of the Civil War, many Americans looked west for the dawn of a new era. In tune with his times, President Lincoln signed Yosemite Land Grant in order to protect the majestic, wild beauty of the area. Thomas Hill painted the grandeur and the beauty of the American West that captured America 's essence. Our land of opportunity, optimism and freedom."

For its part, the museum has its own Lincoln celebration in the works, as 2009 is Lincoln Year, featuring public programs, special events, and exhibitions, including the upcoming "Lincoln and New York" in October.

As for the food, something like the inaugural luncheon menu will be served at at Del Posto in February.

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