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The Café and Courtyard will be closed Sunday, Nov. 17 in preparation for a special event. The museums will close at 5:00 pm, at which point visitors will be directed to exit through the building’s F street lobby. The G street exit and ramp will remain accessible to those who need it. We apologize for any inconvenience.

John F. Kennedy

Artist
Pietro Annigoni, 1910 - 28 Oct 1988
Sitter
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 29 May 1917 - 22 Nov 1963
Date
1961
Type
Painting
Medium
Watercolor on paper
Dimensions
Sight: 68.6 x 58.4cm (27 x 23")
Frame: 88.9 x 68.6 x 7.6cm (35 x 27 x 3")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Benedetto Annigoni
Object number
NPG.78.TC501
Culture
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: American\Irish American
Exhibition Label
Thirty-fifth President, 1961-63
John F. Kennedy embarked on his White House responsibilities in January 1961 with a "youth-can-do-anything" outlook. He quickly discovered that confidence was not enough to ensure success, given the disastrous American invasion of Castro's Cuba and setbacks in Congress over his domestic agenda. Nevertheless, by the end of his first year, he had begun to establish his credibility as a world leader. Moreover, Kennedy's leadership style had matured as he acquired insights into the realities of the nation's highest office. It was that growth that prompted Time to name him 1961's Man of the Year and to commission this cover portrait from Italian painter Pietro Annigoni.
When Annigoni went to the White House to sketch Kennedy, he was struck by the president's pensive, often somber, demeanor, and it was this side of Kennedy that the artist decided to capture. Many readers of Time detested the final portrait, however, including the president himself.
Time cover, January 5, 1962
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection