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John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy
Usage Conditions Apply
Elaine de Kooning, 12 Mar 1918 - 1 Feb 1989
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 29 May 1917 - 22 Nov 1963
Charcoal and paper collage on paper
Sheet (irregular edge): 66.4 × 50.8 cm (26 1/8 × 20")
Frame: 83 × 67.8 cm (32 11/16 × 26 11/16")
Costume\Dress Accessory\Neckwear\Tie
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Male
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Literature\Writer
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Politics and Government\US Congressman\Massachusetts
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Military and Intelligence\Navy\Officer
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Politics and Government\President of US
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Politics and Government\US Senator\Massachusetts
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Pulitzer Prize
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; a gift from Elaine to Ernestine Lassaw, donated by Denis Lassaw in honor of her two mothers
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Elaine de Kooning Trust
Object number
Exhibition Label
Elaine carried this charcoal drawing to a high degree of completion and then added collaged pieces of paper to it. The likeness seems to express what Elaine was looking for in her efforts to capture the president’s elusive image: "In succeeding sessions of sketching, I was struck by the curious faceted structure of light over his face and hair—a quality of transparent ruddiness. The play of light contributed to the extraordinary variety of expressions. His smile and frown both seemed to be built-in to the bone. Everyone is familiar with the quick sense of humor revealed in the corners of his mouth and the laugh lines around the eyes, but what impressed me most was a sense of compassion."
Elaine trabajó a fondo este dibujo en carboncillo y luego le añadió pedacitos de papel a manera de collage. La obra parece expresar sus esfuerzos por captar la elusiva imagen de presidente: “En sucesivas sesiones de dibujo me impactó la curiosa composición de facetas que la luz creaba sobre su cara y su pelo, un velo de sonrosada transparencia. El juego de luces realzaba su extraordinaria variedad de expresiones. Lo mismo si sonreía o fruncía el ceño, sus gestos parecían integrados a su estructura ósea. Todos conocen ese humor ágil que revelan las comisuras de sus labios y las arrugas alrededor de los ojos cuando sonríe, pero lo que más me impresionó fue su sentido de la compasión”.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery