Portrait of John F. Kennedy by Norman Rockwell
October 29, 1960 and December 14, 1963 Issues of The Saturday Evening Post
Norman Rockwell's Portrait of John F. Kennedy appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published October 29, 1960.
It was later republished on the cover of the December 14,1963 issue of The Post as a memorial to the recently assassinated President Kennedy.
This painting was Rockwell's 312th overall out of 322 total paintings featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. It also qualifies as the last of the Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers since the second publication in 1963 was Rockwell's last cover for the Post.
Rockwell's career with the Post spanned 47 years, from his first cover illustration, Boy With Baby Carriage in 1916 to this painting.
This is also the fifth for The Post in 1960. In 1960, there were six Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting, 16 inches by 12 inches or 40.5 by 30.5 cm, is part of the collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum Stockbridge Massachusetts.
This painting also appears in four Rockwell commentary books. It appears on page 134 of Norman Rockwell: A Sixty Year Retrospective by Thomas Buechner, as illustration 233 of Norman Rockwell's America by Christopher Finch, as illustrations 494, 570 and 586 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 229 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
This classic Norman Rockwell painting was first published as a prevew to the 1960 US Presidentail election.
Portrait of John F. Kennedy
The US Presidential electoral contest in 1960 was largely bewteen the two candidates of the two major parties, Democrat John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Republican Richard Milhous Nixon.
JFK was then a young Senator from Massachusetts, and Nixon was the sitting Vice-President under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The Kennedy portrait was published ten days before the election, and Portrait of Richard M. Nixon was published the next Saturday, three days before the election.
The Post had commissioned Norman Rockwell to paint portraits of the candidates as part of its election coverage.
The election ended up being a close one with Kennedy garnering only 0.2% more votes than Nixon. John F. Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States when he took his oath of office on January 20, 1961.
Republication in 1963 in the Wake of National Tragedy
Portrait of John F. Kennedy was the only one of Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post covers to be published on the cover twice.
The painting was republished on cover of the December 14, 196 issue.
The republication of this painting came at a sad time in the life of the American nation.
The president, Kennedy, had just been assassinated a little more than three weeks earlier on November 22, 1963.
Portrait of John F. Kennedy was only one of 322 Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers; Here is the list of Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
The nation was still in mourning at the time this painting was published. Much hope had been hung on the young president.
His ideas and programs were innovatuive at the time. There was even talk of issuing United States notes to replace Federal Reserve Notes. This idea alone, if instituted, would have saved US taxpayers billions of dollars. I believe that may have been the motive for the assassination.
JFK's murder was then and still remains a national tragedy.
Norman Rockwell's Portrait of John F. Kennedy (1960)
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Norman Rockwell Quotes:
I'll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I'd like to.
No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He's got to put all his talent and feeling into them!
Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I've always called myself an illustrator. I'm not sure what the difference is. All I know is that whatever type of work I do, I try to give it my very best. Art has been my life.
Right from the beginning, I always strived to capture everything I saw as completely as possible.
The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.
I can take a lot of pats on the back. I love it when I get admiring letters from people. And, of course, I'd love it if the critics would notice me, too.
You must first spend some time getting your model to relax. Then you'll get a natural expression.
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