WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is praising Joan Mondale for her contributions to arts and global understanding.

The wife of former Vice President Walter Mondale died Monday at age 83. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their condolences to the Mondale family and said they are grateful for her service to the country.

In a statement, the Obamas said Joan Mondale was a lifelong patron of the arts who filled the vice president's residence with work from dozens or artists. They said she did the same thing when her husband later became U.S. ambassador to Japan.

The Obamas called her a passionate advocate for the role of art in American life.