• Andy Warhol portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis from 1964.

    Andy Warhol. Red Jackie, 1964. Acrylic and silkscreen ink, 40 x 40 inches (101.6 x 101.6 cm). © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Story May 11, 2019 New York

Warhol Women | Red Jackie

Unlike Warhol’s earlier paintings of Jackie Kennedy, which were made from photographs taken immediately before and after the assassination of her husband, Red Jackie (1964), was based off of a portrait by the official photographer for the Kennedy presidential campaign, Jacques Lowe. The photo was taken at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port during the summer of 1960, and Warhol sourced a reproduction from a souvenir book. For these portraits, he cropped the hair, and changed the angle of the head to bring the composition more closely into line with the Marilyn portraits he produced in the same year. [1]

Portrait of (future US First Lady) Jacqueline Kennedy (nee Bouvier, 1929 – 1994) as she poses on a porch, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, Summer 1960. (Photo by The Estate of Jacques Lowe/Getty Images).

***

Eight years later, Jackie and her children spent a summer in Warhol’s company when her sister, Lee Radziwill, rented the main cottage on the artist’s Montauk estate, Eothen. Accompanying them was artist Jonas Mekas, whom Kennedy had hired to teach her children photography and filmmaking. Mekas’ photographs from that summer include one of Radziwill looking over Warhol’s shoulder while he filmed out the window, and another of Warhol hunched over, and advancing toward Caroline Kennedy, in a comically menacing pose. [2]

***

As the photographer who helped to shape the Kennedy legacy, years later Jacques Lowe was told that his photographic archive was too valuable to insure. Lowe determined that the most secure place to store his archive of 40,000 negatives was in JP Morgan’s vault; that vault was located in Tower 5 of the World Trade Center. The tower was destroyed on 9/11, and while the vault survived, Lowe’s negatives inside it were reduced to ashes. Despite this, the photographer’s daughter, Thomasina, was able to locate 1,500 contact sheets elsewhere in New York, and the photographer himself had made prints from some of the original negatives shortly before his death, just four months before the September 11 attacks. [3]

 


 

In honor of our exhibition Warhol Women, we’re sharing some of the stories behind the artist’s iconic portraits. Visit the Happenings page each week to read more!

 


Notes:
[1] Georg Frei, Neil Printz, and Sally King-Nero, eds. The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, Warhol 02A Paintings and Sculptures 1964-1969(New York; London: Phaidon, 2004), 272.
[2] Julie Earle-Levine, “A 70s Summer with Warhol and the Kennedys,” The New York Times, June 26, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/t-magazine/warhol-kennedy-hamptons-jonas-mekas-photos.html.
[3] Ranjit Dhaliwal, “Jacques Lowe: the JFK Photographer Who Lost His Life’s Work on 9/11,” The Guardian, September 27, 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/photography-blog/2013/sep/27/john-f-kennedy-jacques-lowe-photography.

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