Karsh's renowned portrait of John and Jacqueline Kennedy, signed as president and first lady
Enduring color 16.5 x 21.5 Yousuf Karsh photographic portrait print of John and Jacqueline Kennedy, captioned "The President and Mrs. John Fitzgerald Kennedy," signed and inscribed in the lower border in black ink, “For Senator Ernest Gruening - a distinguished public servant with the esteem and best wishes of his friend - John F. Kennedy,” and in blue ballpoint, "Jacqueline Kennedy." The lower right bears a ‘Karsh of Ottawa’ copyright caption. Framed and in fine condition.
During a career that spanned over 60 years, portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh captured many of the most important figures of the 20th century. Immortalizing his subjects with an eye for lighting, color, and geometry, Karsh's keen attention to detail is readily apparent in this dynamic portrayal. The Kennedys sat for Karsh on many occasions throughout their decade-long marriage, but it was 1957 — the year this photo was taken — that would produce Karsh's most complex and enduring images of the couple. This vivid senator-era image, signed as president and first lady, is a perfect characterization of the couple's stoic dignity embraced during their time in Camelot.
Ernest Henry Gruening (1887-1974) was an American journalist and politician who, after working for various newspapers in New York and Boston, served in various roles during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was appointed as Governor of Alaska in 1939 and became a prominent advocate of Alaska statehood. When it achieved said status in 1959, Gruening became one of Alaska's inaugural pair of senators, along with Bob Bartlett. Gruening was a prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and with Oregon's Wayne Morse, was one of just two senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which allowed the bombing of North Vietnam.
Late in JFK’s presidential campaign, he delivered a speech at the Edgewater Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska, on September 3, 1960, advocating for the future of the new state and mentioning Gruening by name. The speech, in part: ‘The Republicans see Alaska as a giant ice-box - a useless wasteland. They see its problems and its limitations. They see it as a burden on the mainland - a cost to the taxpayers - at best a colony for certain commercial interests...
But I see another Alaska - the Alaska of the future. I see a land of over one million people. I see a giant electric grid stretching from Juneau to Anchorage and beyond. I see the greatest dam in the free world at Rampart Canyon...I see a network of paved highways and modern airports linking every city and section of this state. I see Alaska as the destination of countless Americans...And I see an Alaska that is the storehouse of the nation, rich in timber, rich in minerals, rich in fisheries, rich in water power and rich in the blessings of liberty as well as abundance...
It is time for this country to start moving again - and time for Alaska to start moving with it...the Scriptures tell us of the time when ‘there were giants in the earth.’ And I sincerely believe that Ernest Gruening and Bob Bartlett and Bill Egan and Ralph Rivers and in a sense, all of the people of Alaska, are giants in a giant land. That is what this state needs. And that is what our country needs. This is not time for trivia. This is not time for petty complaints and halfway measures. This is a time for giants - for doers instead of talkers - a time for the great-hearted, not the faint-hearted. I give you the call of the New Frontier - and I call for your help on the Last Frontier. Together, in a common effort for the common cause, I know we can prevail.’