Saturday, November 22, 2008

portrait of a president

Artist Elaine de Kooning at work on one of the many studies she did for her final portrait of then-President John F. Kennedy. De Kooning was connected to the New York School of Abstract Expressionism (and married to abstract kingpin Willem de Kooning), but she veered away from their non-figurative principles to create portraits that were more intuitive than abstract. Because JFK was generally too busy to pose, EDK would often just observe him on the sidelines. She was of course greatly upset by his assassination 45 years ago to this day, but her depiction of Kennedy remains one of the most vivid and unique presidential portraits ever done. The 1962 photo of her working is from the Smithsonian Museum Archives, and the portrait itself can be found at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.