You’ve probably heard that Donald and Melania Trump asked the Guggenheim Museum to lend them a Van Gogh landscape to hang in their private quarters at the White House and got turned down in what some may view as an inartful way. Instead of a painting, they were offered a toilet.

A lavatory in lieu of a landscape

Of course, it can be argued that the toilet is as much an artwork as a Van Gogh painting. After all, it was designed by the noted Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and put on exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in 2016 – well, put to use may be more accurate, because it’s also a working bathroom fixture and was installed in a public restroom at the museum.

Even so, this is no ordinary potty. Made of 18-karat gold, it’s valued at $1 million. Cattelan called it "America" to poke fun at its greed.

There’s no equivalency between a Dutch painter and a French king.

Fox News’ headline for this story called the museum offer an “insult” to the president. But I’d argue that his wanting to hang a Van Gogh at Trump’s White House residence is an insult to Van Gogh. The president’s taste is reflected in the décor of his New York penthouse, favoring the cushioned ornate French style of the 18th century after Louis XV, which suggests that the Guggenheim toilet is custom made for him. The only thing French about Van Gogh was the location of the asylum he sought help in the small town of Arles.

The big picture versus the little picture

Then there’s the Van Gogh painting that Trump asked for, “Landscape in Snow,” which describes a long, empty road with the solitary figure of a man walking his dog. This is far and away from Trump’s busy views from the 58th floor of his penthouse – not only panoramas of the entire Central Park but also of every one of New York’s five boroughs, not to mention New Jersey, too.

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My guess is that Trump didn’t ask for the Van Gogh, Melania did. Perhaps something about the isolation in the painting resonated with her life at the White House. For Trump, instead of the painter from Holland, who pictured modest lives, why not a royal portrait of a Hollander from the Met like William III of the Netherlands decked out in cape and sword.

Very dashing.

Make political hay on your own time

Now, about the Guggenheim official who denied Trump the Van Gogh. Her name is Nancy Spector. She’s the museum curator and known on social media sites and her blog for her low view of the president. As a representative of the museum, though, she shouldn’t unilaterally mock him with the toilet offer under the auspices of the institution for which she works. Just saying.