John F Kennedy: Portrait of the President, by Aaron Shikler. Oil on canvas. Signed and dated lower right: AAS'70. Framed.
Jacqueline Kennedy personally selected Aaron Shikler in 1970 to provide the posthumous character study of John F. Kennedy, which serves as Kennedy's official White House portrait. Recognizing the importance of this commission, and wanting to devote particular attention to the President's bowed head, Shikler painted this intimate portrait prior to embarking on his full-length painting of Kennedy that would go the White House.
In this insightful and contemplative preliminary painting for his official White House portrait, Shikler clearly captured both Kennedy's humility and humanity. "I painted him with his head bowed, not because I think of him as a martyr, but because I wanted to show him as a president who was a thinker," Mr. Shikler told The Washington Post in 1971. "A thinking president is a rare thing." When asked why he had depicted the President looking downward, Shikler responded "All presidential portraits have eyes that look right at you. I wanted to do something with more meaning. I hoped to show a courage that made him humble."
In addition to the President's portrait, Aaron Shikler also painted the FIrst Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy's, official White House portrait, as well as numerous private portraits of Mrs. Kennedy and the two Kennedy children.
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Aaron Shikler studied at The Barnes Foundation from 1941 to 1943. He attended Temple University's Tyler School of Art in Pennsylvania from 1940 to 1943, where he received his Bachelor's and Masters Degrees in Fine Arts. Mr. Shikler spent three years in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946, completing his final year of service in England at Shrivenham Art School. Upon his return to the United States, Shikler studied at Hans Hoffman's School in New York City. By 1953, Mr. Shikler had established himself as an independent artist and New York's Davis & Langdale gallery was the primary site of some 25 exhibitions. In addition to receiving the State Department's Travelling Grant, Aaron Shikler is represented in numerous public collections such as The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and the National Academy of Design.
11.875 x 12.5"; Frame 18.5 x 18.5"
Exhibited: The Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1970, Paintings and Drawings by David Levine and Aaron Shikler, 1970, no. 122, illus.; Temple University, PA, 1985, Centennial Fellow Exhibition; Lyme Academy of Fine Art, CT, 1986, Aaron Shikler, no. 23.
Estate of Aaron Shikler