A Rare Original Watercolor by John F. Kennedy of the Kennedy Palm Beach Home in 1955

1955

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A Rare Original Watercolor by John F. Kennedy of the Kennedy Palm Beach Home in 1955
Signed Drawing
1 page | SMC 1452

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      Background

      The Kennedys of Hyannis Port, and Palm Beach, and Washington, were a famously competitive lot, and their chief form of relaxation, exertion. If it involved internecine rivalry, so much the better – but aside from reading a book, or writing one, solitary pursuits were generally shunned. When young bride Jacqueline Kennedy bought her husband a paint set, then, for Christmas ’53, all the Kennedys descended on it, competing to see who could produce the most paintings in the shortest amount of time. Jacqueline was appalled: her idea had been to allow Jack to emulate his great hero, Winston Churchill, who found in painting a serene distraction from political pressure. Somehow, however, despite the initial disaster at Palm Beach, Kennedy took up painting, by himself, that spring, and when, a year later, he was recovering from back surgery, he painted even more. (His mother Rose, in whose Palm Beach home he was recuperating, complained about the paint splattered all over the sheets.) Kennedy painted mostly seascapes – though this painting is of the Kennedy’s Palm Beach house itself, and dates from his 1955 stay there.

      Dot Tubridy, the young Irish widow of a riding champion – Captain Michael Turbridy, who died of injuries sustained in a riding accident in April 1954 - was befriended by the Kennedys, and spent some time visiting them in Palm Beach. She became, it was said, like an Irish cousin to the family – and when President Kennedy traveled to Ireland in 1963, she was with his party every step of the way.

      There are many affectionate letters between President Kennedy and Dot Tubridy; this gift of a painting, inscribed to her, is singular, however, and  it would be the last time, really, that Jack Kennedy had time to paint: by 1956, he was off and running, all the way to the White House. Once arrived, in 1961, he took two of his paintings to hang there.


      Original Watercolor, untitled, signed (twice) "Jack", and inscribed (twice) to Dot (Tubridy); oblong quarto, on paper, 1955. Being a view of  the back of the Kennedy family Palm Beach home, fronting the water.
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