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The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston announced Monday that it has acquired a famous portrait of President John F. Kennedy.

The Kennedy family asked Jamie Wyeth to paint the portrait in 1967, after JFK was assassinated.

The then 20-year-old fledgling artist agreed to make an unofficial portrait that he would keep if the family didn’t approve of the finished work.

MFA Art of the Americas curator Elliot Bostwick Davis said the artist received mixed reviews.

“Robert Kennedy didn’t care for it — he found it was too painful a reminder of his brother,” Bostwick Davis explained, “whereas Jacqueline Kennedy felt it was a very striking and stirring likeness of her husband. As a result it remained in the artist’s own collection, and hence has come to the museum and come to the public.”

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The New York City Department of Records and Information Services has added 30,000 historical photographs to its extensive online gallery. Among these images are over 2,000 photographs from the NYPD departmental files and Emergency Services Unit, dating from 1928 to 1941. The images depict everything from a plane crash in Brooklyn to Communist Party rallies in Madison Square Garden, a Nazi summer retreat in Long Island, and John F. Kennedy’s ticker-tape parade from the 1960 presidential campaign. The online gallery now boasts 90,000 photographs, the largest collection of New York City historical images in the world.

The never-before-seen pictures were scanned from vintage large-format film and glass-plate negatives, color transparencies, century-old lantern slides, 35mm Kodachromes, and prints in the Municipal Archive. The city plans to eventually digitize its entire collection. 

The photographs can be viewed here.

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While preparing for the exhibition John Singer Sargent’s Watercolors, a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston discovered photocopied letters that Jacqueline Kennedy had written to the museum’s former director, Perry Rathbone. The letters, which were found in the museum’s archives, were written two months after John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

The correspondence was spurred by Rathbone’s offer to extend the loan of four of the six Sargents that hung in the Kennedys’ private sitting room in the White House. Jackie responded by saying, ““You cannot imagine what they mean to me – or perhaps you can because you extended their loan so chivalrously. But they were in the room — the only room in the White House which was our private, happy sitting room — where the children tumbled around — where we sat with friends. And the ones I chose were on the wall opposite where I sat. The President sat under them. Whenever I think of all our happy days and evenings in this strange house … I think of him sitting in his favorite chair with the Sargents over his head. Perhaps it is a way to cling to a past that can never be the same again — perhaps in a few months they will make me so sad that I will want to send them back to you … But right now they are a consolation.”  

Jackie Kennedy eventually returned the works to the MFA; they are currently on display as part of the Sargent’s Watercolor exhibition, which is on view through January 20, 2014.

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On March 9, 2013 the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened a sweeping exhibition focused on the work of the widely popular 20th century painter and illustrator, Norman Rockwell (1894-1978). Rockwell is best known for his archetypical portrayals of American life as well as his cover illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post magazine, a job he fulfilled for over 40 years.

American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell is a traveling exhibition that features 50 original Rockwell paintings as well as the 323 covers the artist created for the Saturday Evening Post. The show features some of Rockwell’s most recognized images including Triple Self-Portrait (1960), Girl at Mirror (1954), and Going and Coming (1947) as well as portraits of presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. American Chronicles includes a number of pieces from Rockwell’s archives such as preliminary sketches, color studies, photographs, letters, manuscripts, and detailed drawings.

The well-rounded exhibition allows visitors a glimpse into Rockwell’s artistic process and illustrates how he came to be the visual interpreter of day-to-day life in post-World War II America. American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell will be on view at the Crystal Bridges Museum through May 27, 2013.

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