Artist says he hung Putin portrait in Trump Hotel suite in D.C., where it remained until he retrieved it a month later

Hope Schreiber
·Writer

A portrait of Vladimir Putin hung in Suite 435 at the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., according to the artist behind the scheme, Brian Whiteley. Possessing multiple photos of the hand-painted portrait of the Russian president, and receipts to the Trump International Hotel barring the name of an accomplice who wishes to remain anonymous, Whiteley claims that the painting hung for a solid month before he returned to retrieve it. 

However, according to the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, Patricia Tang, “It never happened.

A portrait of Vladimir Putin allegedly hung in a suite in Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. for a month, according to the artist, Brian Andrew Whiteley. (Photo: Brian Whiteley)
A portrait of Vladimir Putin allegedly hung in a suite in Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. for a month, according to the artist, Brian Andrew Whiteley. (Photo: Brian Whiteley)

Whiteley told Yahoo Lifestyle that he and his friend hung the portrait on Aug. 1 in their rented room of the hotel, which is located just minutes from the White House. Whiteley provided Yahoo with a photo of the receipt which shows a single night stay from July 31 to Aug. 1. The name of the individual who rented the room has been redacted per their request.

A receipt showing a one-night stay that corroborates Brian Whiteley’s story. (Photo: Brian Whiteley)
A receipt showing a one-night stay that corroborates Brian Whiteley’s story. (Photo: Brian Whiteley)

The portrait, which depicts Putin on a chair in front of the White House as storm clouds gather, was hanging over another painting in the room when Whiteley and his friend invited a group of intoxicated Trump supporters back to their room for a nightcap. One said, “Putin, f*** yeah,” according to the artist.

Whiteley and his friend returned to the hotel a month later in early September and told staff that they had forgotten something. Accompanied by a bellhop, they returned to the room. “We saw that the piece was still there,” Whiteley told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I grabbed it off the wall; the bellhop sees that I’m taking it off the wall, and he calls security.”

Whiteley explained to security that the painting was his artwork, by showing his ID and his signature on the back of the portrait. “After a 20-minute grill session, they looked over the room to see if we were trying to steal stuff from the hotel. Then the manager saw the piece and [had security] grab me under the arm and escort me out of the building.”

The portrait of Putin which allegedly hung inside a room at Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. (Photo: Brian Whiteley)
The portrait of Putin which allegedly hung inside a room at Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. (Photo: Brian Whiteley)

“I put [the painting] there and I didn’t hear anything. I expected to hear some complaint, or some email from the hotel telling me I left something there, or anything. But it managed to stay there for that amount of time, and they always say that they’re at capacity. I don’t know if that’s true, but people had been staying in that room, and no one said anything,” Whiteley said.

While it may seem that the cleaners on the hotel staff and guests are not very observant, Whiteley has another theory. Whiteley sent an email to Hyperallergic which reads, “…the guests are completely devoted to the President no matter what policy/authoritarian he embraces. As many have said, Trump has brought about a cult of authoritarianism where he can do no wrong no matter how blatant the transgression.”

Previously, Whiteley created a tombstone that read “Trump, Donald J.” that he planted in Central Park on Easter Sunday, March 2016. The gravestone’s epitaph read “Made America Hate Again.” The NYPD removed it three hours later.

Patricia Kang, the sales and marketing director at Trump International, did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

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