The United Nations Art Collection is a collective group of "artworks and historic objects donated as gifts to the "United Nations by its member states, associations, or individuals. These artistic treasures and possessions, mostly in the form of “"sculptures, "paintings, "tapestries and "mosaics”, are representative “arts of nations” that are contained and exhibited within the confines of the "United Nations Headquarters in "New York City, United States, and other duty stations, making the UN and its international territories a "fine small museum".
Member states follow a protocol for presenting official gifts to the United Nations. Procedures, speeches, and ceremonies, such as the unveiling of these gifts, are conducted and coordinated by the Protocol and Liaison Service. Ideally, every member nation can only present one offering, and member nations are responsible for the installation of the offered artifacts.
The official gifts to the United Nations by its member states epitomize the ideals, significance and values of the UN as an international organization.
In 1964, a 15 foot by 12 foot "stained glass window by "Marc Chagall entitled Peace was donated to the United Nations by its own staff members and by Chagall himself to commemorate "Dag Hammarskjöld, who served as "United Nations Secretary-General from 1953 until his death in 1961. The stained glass memorial contains numerous symbols representing love and peace themes.
In 1985, as a representative of the United States, then first lady "Nancy Reagan presented a mosaic to the United Nations to celebrate the organization's 40th anniversary. The Golden Rule mosaic was a creation of "Venetian artists and was based on a painting by "Norman Rockwell. Depicting people of all races, religion, creed and hue, the mosaic imparts the message to ""do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
In 1959, a "bronze statue promoting the slogan "Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares was donated by the "Soviet Union to the United Nations. It was sculpted by "Evgeniy Vuchetich to represent the human wish to end all wars by converting the weapons of death and destruction into peaceful and productive tools that are more beneficial to mankind.
A life-size "tapestry copy of "Pablo Picasso's "Guernica, by Jacqueline de la Baume Dürrbach, is displayed on the wall of the "United Nations building in "New York City, at the entrance to the "Security Council room.
The main entity responsible for the conservation of the collection is the UN Arts Committee. The United Nations is assisted, through a special mandate and regulations, by fundraising groups such as the Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation in this endeavor of preserving these artistic and international heritages. However, about 50 gifts, partly close to dissolution, are stored in the basement; and in some cases, have been so for decades.
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