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Jackie Kennedy Bouvier
Size :140x170cm
About the painting :Oil on Belgian Linen / Olieverf op Linnen

Verkrijgbaar in Giclee / Also available as Giclee

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born into New York society. Jackie was the elder daughter of John "Black Jack" Vernou Bouvier III (1891-1957), and Janet Norton Lee Bouvier Auchincloss Morris (1907-1989). Janet's paternal great-grandfather, a potato-famine Irish immigrant, was a superintendent of New York City public schools. She preferred to tell people that he was a Maryland-born veteran of the United States Civil War. In Maryland, she briefly attended The Holton-Arms School. Jackie was joined by a sister, Caroline Lee, in 1933. Through their father, the Bouvier sisters were descended from the Van Salees, a merchant family of Dutch/African ancestry that settled in New Amsterdam in the 17th century. Black Jack was a playboy stockbroker of 1/4 French and mostly Irish descent whose womanizing led to his eventual divorce from Janet when Jackie was a young girl. While Black Jack never remarried, Janet wed the wealthy Hugh D. Auchincloss, Jr..

As a child, Jackie became a well-trained equestrienne and began a lifelong love affair with horseback riding. She won several trophies and medals for her riding and the ample land at the Auchincloss's Hammersmith Farm gave her something to appreciate. She loved reading, painting, writing poems and shared a warm relationship with Black Jack. Her relationship with Janet was somewhat distant.

Jackie attended Miss Porter's School from 1944-1947 and afterward she was named "Debutante of the Year" for the 1947-48 season. She was also educated at three secondary education institutions. She began at Vassar College and attended there from 1947-1948. In 1949, she spent some time studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, France through a Junior Year Abroad program with Smith College. An avid painter, Jackie graduated in 1951 from George Washington University, where she earned a degree in art.

Jackie's first job was as the "Inquiring Photographer" for The Washington Times-Herald. She would travel around Washington D.C. asking people for their opinions on certain issues and then take their picture. This is how she came to meet Massachusetts Senator John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, one of the Democratic Party's rising stars.

Kennedy marriage

After breaking her engagement to stockbroker John Husted and canceling their planned June 1952 wedding, she was engaged to Jack when he called her in London while she was covering Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation. They married on September 12, 1953, at Newport, Rhode Island. Their reception was held at Hammersmith Farm.

Together they had four children: Arabella (stillborn, 1956), Caroline Bouvier Kennedy (b. 1957), John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. (1960–1999), and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (born and died in August, 1963).

The marriage had its difficulties as her husband had affairs and debilitating health problems, which were hidden from the public. Jackie spent a lot of time and money early in their marriage shopping for clothes or redecorating their home.

They spent their first years of marriage in a townhouse on N street in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Jackie was fond of her father-in-law, Joseph P. Kennedy and the affection was returned. He saw the great PR potential of her as a politician's wife. She was also close to her brother-in-law, Robert "Bobby". Yet she was not fond of the competitive, sporty, and somewhat abrasive nature of the Kennedy clan. She was quieter and more reserved. The Kennedy sisters nicknamed her "the deb," and Jackie was always reluctant to join in the traditional family touch-football games. Once, she broke her leg in a game of baseball with them.

First Lady of the United States

Kennedy narrowly beat Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election, becoming the 35th President of the United States in 1961. Jackie Kennedy became one of the youngest First Ladies in history. She had taken an active role in the campaign, even speaking to grocery store shoppers over the PA system in one town. West Virginia hit her the hardest as she had not witnessed this kind of poverty before. Later, in the White House, when the need for new glassware came up, Jackie suggested a company out of the impoverished state supply it.

As First Lady (a title she wasn't fond of, saying it sounded like the name of a horse), she was forced into the public spotlight with everything in her life under scrutiny. Jacqueline knew her children would be in the public eye, yet she was determined to protect her children from the press and give them a normal childhood. She allowed very few photographs to be taken of them and when she was gone, the President would let the White House photographer Cecil Stoughton snap away.

Due in part to her French ancestry, Jackie had always felt a bond with France which was reinforced by her schooling there. This was a love that would later be reflected in many aspects of her life, such as the menus she chose for White House state dinners and her taste in clothing. She spoke French, Spanish, and Italian fluently, and she preferred her name to be pronounced in the French fashion as ʒaklin. She had a strong preference for French haute couture clothes designers, but these clothes were expensive, and she feared wearing them might be perceived as disloyalty to American designers. She often got around such restrictions by having American dressmakers like Chez Ninon in New York copy or adapt contemporary French designs for her. For her state wardrobe, she chose the Hollywood designer Oleg Cassini. During her days as First Lady, she would become a fashion icon domestically and internationally. When the Kennedys visited France, she impressed Charles de Gaulle with her French and the public there went mad over her presence.

The restoration of the White House was her first major project. Jackie was dismayed during her formal tour of the Executive Mansion which was conducted by Mamie Eisenhower. All of the rooms were full of reproduction furniture and lacked a real sense of history. Being an avid lover of all things historical, Mrs. Kennedy felt that the Mansion that represented her nation should represent it well. She requested that a fine arts committee be formed to oversee the restoration process in the Mansion. They tried hard to find authentic furniture and art that would fit the original design of the White House. Seeking the best of the best, Jackie contacted Henry Dupont and interior designer Henry Boudin to consult on the restoration. The First Lady even wrote personal letters to people she learned had personal effects of previous occupants of the House. On February 14, 1962, Mrs. Kennedy took American television viewers on a tour of the White House with Charles Collingwood of CBS.

Jackie planned many social events that brought the First Couple to the forefront of the Nation's cultural spotlight. The appreciation for art, music, and culture was a new chapter in American History. Jackie's penchant for entertaining made guests in the White House feel they were part of a magical evening every time they attended a state dinner. For instance, she removed the u-shaped dining table from the State Dining Room and replaced it with round tables that seated eight. Her social graces were legendary as can be noted by the way she communicated with Nikita Kruschev in Vienna. The President's summit turned out to be a disaster, but the Premier enjoyed Mrs. Kennedy's company.

Kennedy assassination

The Presidential limousine before the assassination. Jacqueline is in the back seat to the President's left.After Patrick's death in August, 1963, Jackie kept a low profile at the White House. She made her first official appearance in November when President Kennedy asked her to travel to Texas with him for campaign purposes. She was sitting next to him when he was shot and killed in the Dallas motorcade on November 22, 1963. She led the Nation in mourning during his lying-in-state at the U.S. Capitol, during the funeral service at St. Matthew's Cathedral, and finally, while lighting the eternal flame at her husband's grave at Arlington National Cemetery as the world watched on television. The London Evening Standard reported: "Jacqueline Kennedy has given the American people ... one thing they have always lacked: majesty."

Life following the assassination

Jackie Kennedy and her children leave the Capitol as President Kennedy lies in state in the Rotunda.A week after the assassination, she was interviewed by Theodore H. White of Life magazine. In that interview, she compared the Kennedy years in the White House to King Arthur's mythical Camelot, after the Lerner and Loewe musical then playing on Broadway, telling White that Jack had loved the show. She also told White, "Now he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man."

The courage of Jackie Kennedy during the assassination and funeral won her admiration around the world, and many Americans remember her best for her gallantry during those four days in November, 1963. Following the assassination, she and her children remained in their quarters in the White House for two weeks, preparing to vacate. After living briefly in the Georgetown section of Washington, she purchased a luxury apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York in the hope of having more privacy. She spent a year in mourning, making no public appearances, then zealously guarded her privacy. During this time, her daughter Caroline told her school teacher that her mother cried all the time. Jackie talked of wanting to end her life, but stayed alive for the sake of her children.

She perpetuated her husband's memory, however, by visiting his gravesite on important anniversaries and attending selected memorial dedications. These included the 1967 christening of the USS John F. Kennedy Navy aircraft carrier in Newport News, Virginia, and a memorial in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. In May, 1965, Jacqueline Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II jointly dedicated Great Britain's official memorial to President Kennedy at Runnymede, England. This memorial included several acres of soil given in perpetuity from Britain to the USA on the meadow where the Magna Carta had been signed by King John in 1215.

She oversaw plans for the establishment of the John F. Kennedy Library, which is the repository for official papers of the Kennedy Administration. Original plans to have the library situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Harvard University proved problematic for various reasons. The library, designed by I.M. Pei, includes a museum and was dedicated in Boston in 1979 by President Carter, nearly 16 years after the assassination. The governments of many nations donated money to erect the library, in addition to corporate and private donations.

Onassis marriage

On October 20, 1968, Jackie married Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping tycoon, on Skorpios, Greece. Three months earlier her brother-in-law and Presidential Candidate, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles. At that point, Jacqueline decided the Kennedys were being "targeted," and that she and her children had to leave the United States. Marriage to Onassis appeared to make sense: he had the money and power to give her the protection she wanted, while she had the social cachet he craved. He ended his affair with opera diva Maria Callas to marry her. Jackie lost her entitlement to Secret Service protection upon her marriage to Onassis.

For a time, the marriage brought her adverse publicity and seemed to tarnish the image of the grieving presidential widow. However, others viewed the marriage as a positive symbol of the "modern American woman" who would not be afraid to look after her own financial interests and to protect her family. The marriage initially seemed successful, but stresses soon became apparent. The couple rarely spent time together. Though Onassis got along with Caroline and John, Jr. (his son Alexander introduced John to flying; both would die in plane crashes), Jacqueline did not get along with step-daughter Christina Onassis. She spent most of her time traveling and shopping. Onassis was in the early stages of filing for divorce when he died on March 15, 1975; Jacqueline was with her children in New York. Her legacy was severely limited by a prenuptial agreement. Jacqueline eventually accepted Christina's offer of $27,000,000 in exchange for the former First Lady waiving all claims to the Onassis estate.

Final years

A nation watched as Jackie Onassis was buried at Arlington National Cemetery beside her husbandShe spent her later years as an editor at Doubleday, living in New York City and Martha's Vineyard with Maurice Tempelsman, a Belgian-born, married industrialist and diamond merchant. Among the many books she edited was Larry Gonick's The Cartoon History of the Universe. He expresses his gratitude in the acknowledgements in Volume Two.

In the late 1960's she helped lead the historic preservation campaign to save New York's beloved Grand Central Terminal from demolition. In the 1980's she was a major figure in protests against a planned skyscraper at Columbus Circle which would have cast large shadows on Central Park.

In 1994, she was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer, and died from it at her Fifth Avenue apartment in her sleep at 10:15 pm on May 19 of that year at the age of 64.

Her funeral on May 23 was televised around the nation and world, even though it was essentially a private funeral, as she wished. She was buried beside her assassinated husband at Arlington, in a service which was also considered to be private, with remarks from President Bill Clinton. During the service, the two Kennedy children laid flowers on her mahogany casket, bidding goodbye to a remarkable era in American history.

In popular culture

The 1972 Rod Stewart song "You Wear It Well" uses "Madam Onassis" as a marker of style and grace to be compared against.

In the Rage Against The Machine song "Tire me", Jackie O. is mentioned along with an allusion to the death of JFK: "I wanna be Jackie Onassis I wanna wear a pair of dark sunglasses I wanna be Jackie O Oh oh oh oh please don't die!"

The 1995-96 Opera 'Jackie O' was composed by art-composer Michael Daugherty. It is a A pop opera about sixties icons Andy Warhol, Maria Callas and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Sung in English

Jackie and her husband's assassination is the subject of the Tori Amos song, "Jackie's Strength."

In the Seinfeld episode "The Chaperone", Elaine took over Jackie O's job.

In the Lupin the 3rd second tv series, episode 049 "A Pretty Woman Has Venom", Lupin meets Jackie.

In the long-running series, The Simpsons, Marge Simpson's maiden name is Bouvier, and her mother's name is known to be Jacqueline. Similarly, the town's Mayor Quimby speaks with JFK inflections and has a wife that, when shown, constantly wears Jackie's famous pink Chanel suit, hairstyle and pillbox hat.

She is also mentioned in the Spice Girls song, "Lady is a Vamp".

Carly Simon wrote the song, "Touched by the Sun", for Jackie.

Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals album is especially devoted both to Jackie O. and JFK.

Third Eye Blind in their song "Anything" mention her several times: "Jackie O with the top down open".

Parker Posey played a character who referred to herself as "Jackie O" due to a fascination with the former first couple in the movie The House of Yes.

Gil Scott Heron also refers to her in his famous "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised".

In The Misfits song "Bullet" (about the assassination of JFK), there is a line that reads "Run Jackie run".

The comedian Bill Hicks talks of her, claiming "wearing a cross around your neck is like kinda going up to Jackie Onassis with a rifle pendant on."

In the film Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim Curry's character Dr. Frankenfurter is dressed in a distinct Jackie O. style when the main characters first come up to his lab.

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Jhr. Kees A. van Citters
Valkenstraat 21
2011 JL Haarlem
The Netherlands

Mail: keesvancitters@yahoo.com
Tel: 0031-235320662
Celphone: 0031-624266918
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all images © Kees van Citters / Beeldrecht Amstelveen