NEW YORK.- For the first time, the original study done by legendary American artist Norman Rockwell for the "Portrait of President John F. Kennedy" is for sale by the original owner. The study was made in preparation for the final portrait that appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on April 6, 2005. These depictions of the President retain a delightful freshness and immediacy, providing an intimate look at Rockwells artistic process. The study is a unique offering - the portrayal of a great American icon by a great artistic symbol of America.
Norman Rockwell created portraits of President John F. Kennedy for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on two occasionsfirst, when President Kennedy was elected in 1960, and then again in 1963. In preparation for the portraits, the artist met with the President on numerous occasions. During each of the subsequent sittings, Rockwell prepared many studies and sketches in an effort to capture the Presidents inherent qualitieshis charming character and plethora of gestures (hands, eyes, chin). In the process, he captured Kennedys incredible charisma. As a result of these sessions, Rockwell developed "a special kinship with Kennedy," and they became solid friends.
The finished portrait was featured beside the headline "A Worried President: The Crisis in His Foreign Policy." Kennedys facial expression mirrors the tension in the world at that time, only months after the Cuban Missile Crisis. In comparison to Rockwells 1960 JFK Post cover, the President appears seasoned and careworn, his face showing the effects of three years in office and the burden of his global responsibilities.
Classic aspects of Rockwells portraiture are present in this artworkhis keen powers of observation, exacting attention to detail and an ability to capture a distinct facial expression with his deft draftsmanship. The painting is further enhanced and informed by Rockwells friendship with President Kennedy, their shared values and mutual roots in New England. However, it is also a departure from much of Rockwells work in that the humorous scenarios so often associated with this artists imagery are not present. Instead, this painting seriously addresses a complex world and the gravity of considering its conflicts. During a decade when so many Americans were reevaluating the world around them, including Rockwell himself, this portrait makes a stunning connection between the President and the people whom he represented.
Norman Rockwell ended his forty-seven year relationship with Americas favorite magazine due to his distressed state after the assassination of his friend and his President, President John F. Kennedy. The study was a gift from Norman Rockwell to the original owner.