President John Fitzgerald Kennedy spent the last night of his life with first lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Suite 850 of the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, surrounded by fine art specially chosen for their visit.
The art exhibit, drawn from local public and private collections, was a big deal for Fort Worth collectors.
It served to show “hospitality to weary travellers, to show off cultural competency on the part of the collectors, and to put Fort Worth a notch ahead of its rival sister city, Dallas, where the president was headed next,” writes Wake Forest University art historian David Lubin, author of “Shooting Kennedy: JFK and the Culture of Images.”
All anyone remembers, however, is what happened the next day, on November 22, 1963, when Kennedy flew to Dallas and was assassinated while driving in a parade.
Now, 50 years after Kennedy’s death, the Dallas Museum of Art has gathered the artwork from the president’s suite for an exhibition running through September 15.
Curator Owen Day and others involved in the exhibit in Suite 850 based the artwork on the Kennedy's personal tastes and interests.
In Dallas, abstract art caused quite a stir, even causing the art museum there to split for a few years. By juxtaposing Picasso's sculptures with traditional Impressionism from Monet in the suite, Forth Worth snubbed its rival city.
Angry Owl, 1951 -- 1953, Pablo Picasso Pablo Picasso © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Collection of Gwendolyn Weiner
An oil painting on canvas, Franz Kline's 'Study for Accent Grave' symbolizes phonetics in the French language.
Study for Accent Grave, 1954, Franz Kline © 2012 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Extended Loan to the Palm Springs Art Museum from the Collection of Gwendolyn Weiner
Source: Cleveland Museum of Art
This bronze statue, known as 'Lombardia Girl' by Eros Pellini, sat on the table in the parlor of the suite.
This oil painting, 'Swimming,' by Thomas Eakins, came directly from the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
Swimming, 1885, Thomas Eakins (1844 -- 1916) Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, Purchased by the Friends of Art, Fort Worth Art Association, 1925; acquired by the Amon Carter Museum, 1990, from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth through grants and donations from the Amon G. Carter Foundation, the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, the Anne Burnett and Charles Tandy Foundation, Capital Cities/ABC Foundation, Fort Worth StarTelegram, The R. D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation and the people of Fort Worth. 1990.19.1
Source: Amon Carter Museum
As did 'Lost in a Snowstorm -- We Are Friends,' by Charles M. Russell, another oil painting on canvas.
As an American expat working on Paris, Morris Graves' work bridged the gap between traditional French art world with abstract expressionism. His 'Spirit Bird' was featured in the suite.
JFK's assassination inspired this work by Robert Rauschenberg -- considered a time capsule of the '60s. It's on display along with the other works at the Dallas Museum of Art.
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