In the immediate aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, photographs of Jacqueline Kennedy as grieving widow were ubiquitous in the public consciousness. As part of Warhol's fascination with the story, he obsessively collected these news clippings. Beginning in January 1964, Warhol made screenprint portraits and created his own version of the omnipresent images. Jacqueline Kennedy II is based on photographs by Fred Ward from the December 6, 1963 issue of Life magazine. This lot is a reversed image from the editioned screenprint and presumably a unique iteration of this image on this material.
Warhol's 1960s images of Jackie put a human face to his preoccupations with death and disaster. Here, Warhol presents the poignant image of Jackie in his own dynamic composition. By stylizing his portrait in the same mode as his celebrities, Warhol mediates our emotional shock and mimics the same effect of the sensationalized news story. In contrast to Warhol's famous vivacious Marilyn images following her own death, Jackie's glamorous image is morphed by Warhol into an icon of life irrevocably marked by death.