Picture of Jacqueline Kennedy III (Jackie III) (FS II.15), 1966, stock version, by Andy Warhol
Jackie III 15 print out of frame
Warhol's signature on the Jackie III print
Jackie III by Andy Warhol in frame on the wall.
Picture of Jacqueline Kennedy III (Jackie III) (FS II.15), 1966, by Andy Warhol; Andy and Edie Sedgwick Size Comparison.

Jacqueline Kennedy III (Jackie III) 15

Catalog Title: Jacqueline Kennedy III (Jackie III) (FS II.15)
Year: 1966
Size: 40” x 30”
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.

Jacqueline Kennedy III (15) by Andy Warhol features four raw and striking images of Jacqueline Kennedy surrounding the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. These images, taken by photographer Fred Ward, were appropriated by Warhol from the December 6, 1963 issue of Life magazine. The widespread dissemination of the tragic, historic event marked a seismic shift in the nature of popular media and news. Warhol’s sharp perception of the cultural landscape drew him to the event, which would be imprinted on society and the Kennedy legacy forever.

In Jacqueline Kennedy III, Andy Warhol chose to crop the source images found in Life magazine so that the focus rest solely on the First Lady. The Pop Artist’s appropriation of images and celebrity identity brought him great recognition, but unlike his portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, or Mao, Warhol’s depiction of Jackie is severe and free of embellished with bright hues. Indeed, Jacqueline was loved and revered widely for her grace, style, charitable nature, and beauty, making her the perfect muse for one of Warhol’s classic portraits. But after the shocking death of President JFK, her courage gave her a divine image in the eyes of the public and made her even more intriguing.

The former first lady and arts advocate’s likeness in Jacqueline Kennedy III remains close to the original newspaper prints, highlighting her journey through grief, rather than focusing on her stylish pop-culture presence in the signature Warholian manner. The style of Jackie III in this case echoes Warhol’s works from his Death and Disaster collection, such as Electric Chair, which repeat grim images taken from newspapers and magazines as a commentary on the pervasive nature of tragedy in the evolving forms of media. For Warhol, creating the Jackie prints was a way of responding to the media’s blitz-like coverage of JFK’s assassination. Warhol once said “…it didn’t bother me much that he was dead, what bothered me was the way television and radio were programming everybody to feel so sad.” With his Jacqueline Kennedy series, Andy Warhol commemorates Jackie with an evocative truth as an emblem of strength, American royalty, and a target of the insatiable media hunger in a perpetually consumerist society.

Warhol’s Jacqueline Kennedy (Jackie) series also includes Jackie I and Jackie II.

Photo credit: Jackie Kennedy with Caroline and John Jr. at JFK’s funeral. Courtesy of Fred Ward—Award Agency.

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