Images of American popular culture form the basis of Andy Warhol's art. Over the years, Warhol represented Jacqueline Kennedy with a variety of images in several formats. The scale and date of Early colored Jackie, however, make this painting unique.
Warhol's Jackie paintings usually feature a small, repeated image. The Atheneum's painting is one of only three known to exist in this larger format. While many of the smaller works are based on newspaper photographs taken on the day of the assassination, Early Colored Jackie uses an official White House photograph taken more than a year earlier. The painting is believed to have been completed in 1964, after the tragedy.
The use of an untroubled, pre-assassination image of Jackie in 1964 lends an ironic and nostalgic resonance to this piece. Early Colored Jackie represents a fusion of two dominant aspects of Warhol's work: portraiture and disaster. This image of Jackie projects notions of glamour, wealth, and fame at the same time it conjures ideas of personal tragedy, grief, and death.
Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)
Early Colored Jackie, 1964
Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen on canvas, 40 x 40 in.
The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund,
The Douglas Tracy Smith and Dorothy Potter Smith Fund,
The James L. Goodwin Fund,
Gift of Henry and Walter Keney,
Gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 1994.17.1
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
Paper size: 18 x 18 in.
Image size: 16 x 16 in.