Warhol's portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy are true icons of Pop Art. Warhol produced a number of portraits representing Jacqueline Kennedy, using images depicting her both before and after her husband's assassination, as well as scenes from the funeral. In the present work, Warhol used the "before" photograph of a smiling Jackie wearing her trademark pillbox hat, seated in the back of the car with the President during the Dallas motorcade. By using this image, Warhol isolates a moment of collective cultural innocence and memory. A fragment of time that was for one instant banal and ordinary becomes a record of a pivotal moment in American history and a tangible relic of the idyllic "Camelot."
As David Bourdon writes: "Warhol devised his powerful portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy from news photographs taken before and after President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas in November 1963...By cropping in on Mrs. Kennedy's face, Warhol emphasized the heavy emotional toll during those tragic closing days in November. The so-called Jackie Portraits, far from displaying any indifference on Warhol's part to the assassination, clearly reveal how struck he was by her courage during the ordeal" (D. Bourdon, Warhol, New York, 1989, p. 181).