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Red Jackie

Artist: Andy Warhol
Created: 1964
Dimensions (cm): 101.0 x 101.5
Format: Silkscreen ink and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Location: Froehlich Foundation, Stuttgart, Germany



The 1963 images of Jacqueline Kennedy as a grieving widow captured the nation, reflecting America’s mourning after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  For pop artist Andy Warhol, these images became the catalyst for his “Jackie” works including the famous Red Jackie painting. These were a series of paintings and screen prints created between 1963 and 1968 that captured the moments before and after the assassination as she was transformed from glamorous first lady to grieving widow.

Warhol used a photo taken of Jacqueline Kennedy before the tragic event, to create his painting Red Jackie.  The artist depicts the first lady as being confident and sophisticated.  Her smile seems genuine as she gazes toward the viewer.  Warhol benefited from Jackie’s fame as the first lady and later on as the grieving widow to produce some of his most outstanding works of art

In his portrait of the first lady, Warhol uses a red background to enhance Jackie’s facial features.  It was at a moment in her life that she seemed calm and assured.  Her lips were painted fiery red to match the backdrop and her smile was that of a contented woman. Warhol uses brushstrokes of aqua blue above Jackie’s eyes and a darker blue outlining her black hair.  These colors contrasted sharply with the red canvas giving the artist the title to his work of art, Red Jackie.

Celebrity was the ultimate subject of Warhol’s images, and in turn he became a celebrity through the mechanisms of the art world.  Iconic images such as this painting and others alike, established him as a renowned pop artist.

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