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Rare JFK painting could top $50,000 at Heritage Auctions

A highly rare painting by President John F. Kennedy is expected to sell for more than $50,000 at auction.
The oil painting will cross the block as part of Heritage Auctions’ sale of Americana and political memorabilia, which takes place in Dallas on December 2.

"Original artwork by American presidents is highly sought-after, and this engaging painting must rank high among the many important JFK artifacts Heritage has been privileged to present," said the auction house.

Kennedy began painting in the early 1950s, having been gifted a watercolour set by his wife, and it became a hobby he shared with the rest of his family.

Kennedy was far from a great artist, but he found it a relaxing way to escape the pressures of politics, and emulate his political hero Winston Churchill, who was a renowned painter throughout his life.

However, he was by no means prolific, and only a handful of his original artworks have ever appeared on the market.

This original oil on canvas is thought to have been painted in 1955, whilst Kennedy served as Senator for Massachusetts.

It depicts the skyline of a town, possibly in the South of France where Kennedy often spent holidays throughout his life.

The town also appears to have been painted from the water, which seems likely given the president’s lifelong passion for sailing.

The rest of Kennedy’s known paintings, and indeed the majority of his sketches and absent-minded doodles, feature sailboats in one form or another.

The painting has remained in the family for more than half a century, and comes to auction from the personal collection of Victoria Gifford Kennedy, daughter-in-law of Bobby Kennedy and his wife Ethel.

It also includes a note from Ethel Kennedy, which provides a superb direct provenance to the President:

"I’m delighted that 25 years later you’re still enjoying President Kennedy’s painting which I gave to you and Michael for your wedding.

"I believe it is a scene from the South of France which he gave to Bobby and me for Christmas at Gramma’s in Palm Beach.

"For years it hung in our room at Hickory Hill."

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