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Robert F. Kennedy

Artist
Roy Lichtenstein, 27 Oct 1923 - 29 Sept 1997
Sitter
Robert Francis Kennedy, 20 Nov 1925 - 6 Jun 1968
Date
1968
Type
Print
Medium
Color separation on acetate
Dimensions
Sheet: 58.4 × 41.9cm (23 × 16 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Object number
NPG.78.TC491
Culture
Robert Francis Kennedy: American\Irish American
Exhibition Label
Time magazine’s editors commissioned Roy Lichtenstein to create this cover portrait of Senator Robert Kennedy for its May 24, 1968, edition. It was issued in the midst of a turbulent presidential primary season when Kennedy was challenging President Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic Party’s nomination. Lichtenstein’s Pop Art style and bright colors create a sense of energy as it captures Kennedy’s image in the midst of a campaign speech. Kennedy responded in a bemused telegram: “I thought your cover picture was really marvelous, but I don’t have red spots all over my face.”
On June 5, 1968, just a few weeks after publication of the issue, Kennedy was assassinated while campaigning in Los Angeles. Time commissioned another cover from Lichtenstein to highlight the issue of gun control. A gun pointed at the viewer, though drawn in the same cartoon-like style as the Kennedy portrait, seemed haunting.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection