Andy Warhol Jacqueline Kennedy III (Jackie III) (F & S III.15)Facts | History | Meaning
Catalogue Title: Jacqueline Kennedy III (F & S II.15) Year: 1966 Size 40 x 30” 101 x 76cm Medium: Screenprint on paper. Edition: 200, 50 numbered in Roman numerals, signed with a rubber stamp and numbered in pencil on verso. Published in the portfolio 11 Pop Artists III, containing works by eleven artists.
Andy Warhol Jacqueline Kennedy III (Jackie III) (F & S II.15)Meaning & History
Told through Jacqueline Kennedy's facial expressions, Jacqueline Kennedy III is a haunting and poignant articulation of grief in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. In this screenprint Warhol carefully arranges photographs, breaking down the linearity of events as they occurred.
Jacqueline Kennedy III (Jackie III) is the final print in a series of screen-prints produced by Warhol of America’s first lady. Of the three, the present example is perhaps the most haunting, poignant and explicit articulation of grief and death in the aftermath of the President’s Assassination in 1963.
Warhol places a different image of Jacqueline in each four quadrants, each version showing spectrum of her feelings and the passing of time. At the top left, Jacqueline appears in her veil, mourning the death of her husband. The darkness of the background offsets the paleness of her complexion and the transparency of her veil. In the top right, Jacqueline appears next to a guard, a photograph that was taken on the day the president’s body was taken to lie in state at the U.S Capitol. The two lower quadrants of the painting offer are a dramatic juxtaposition of Jacqueline’s face in the immediate aftermath of the assassination and a smiling Jacqueline: subjectively, one can also see that Warhol empowers the first lady as an autonomous individual, with a complex identity away from her relationship. The artist could have, with the same ease, chosen to reappropriate images of John F. Kennedy: in turning to Jacqueline, Warhol explores the indirect experience of death and loss in the mind of a mother, lover and icon to the American people. In compelling the viewer to consider the private life of his subject, the artist draws attention to the intrusiveness of photography; a Warholian paradox as the work utilises this very imagery.
Warhol’s re-organisation of these images, originally news cuttings, break down the linearity of the events as they occurred, creating the effect of confusion and senselessness in the face of tragedy. The work further speaks to Warhol’s exceptional story-telling power, as the events are understood by the viewer through the simple visual language of face expression.
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