Jacqueline Kennedy I (F. & S. II.3), is a screen print from Andy Warhol’s Jackie Kennedy series (1965) showing a press photograph of Jacqueline Kennedy just moments before the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. Left largely untouched by the artist, the image is in black and white with high contrast and has a grainy quality, like that of the original newspaper image.
Warhol crops the original image so as to focus in on Kennedy’s face and produce an image that resembles his Pop Art icons of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Famed for his depictions of historical events through the appropriation and enlargement of mass-media images, Warhol’s prints of Jackie Kennedy, following her husband’s assassination, are one of the earliest examples of this kind of subject in the artist’s oeuvre. By enlarging and repeatedly printing Kennedy’s image, Warhol transforms the grieving First Lady into a cultural icon of the 1960s.
Enthralled with the concept of fame and celebrity, Warhol delved into the theme of political celebrity throughout his entire career. As well as focusing in on the Kennedy’s, Warhol produced prints of Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. The Jackie Kennedy portfolio is one of Warhol’s most famous explorations into the political celebrity and focuses on themes of de-sensitisation of celebrity and the hidden reality of the lives of those in the spotlight.