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University Archives

Lot 162

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Description:

8 Rare Paintings Attributed to John & Jackie Kennedy, Circa 1954, Fantastic Documentation Including Sotheby's Letters!

Set of 8 pieces of artwork, two signed. Each 9" x 12" on canvas board. One is signed "KENNEDY" and is attributed to having been accomplished by John F. Kennedy, another signed "JACKIE", and is attributed to Jacqueline Kennedy. The unsigned pieces are all also attributed to Jacqueline. The art will be accompanied by a signed Letter of Provenance describing the group of eight pieces and their chain of custody coming from a Kennedy family secretary when John F. Kennedy was a young senator. They had been given to Robert Garbutt owner of a candy store in Hyannis whose connection to both Hyannis and the Kennedy family is well documented. (Copies of Newspaper clippings from the Boston Globe of this connection will be included with the paintings), and then hence to his niece, Heather Marino. They have remained in their family since they have taken ownership of the artworks. The list of the art is shown below:

1. An oil painting showing a man in a rowboat catching a sea serpent signed "KENNEDY". This has long been attributed by family legend as having been executed by President John F. Kennedy. The item is framed by Cape Cod Picture Framing Service ...
2. An oil portrait of a blonde-haired person in a red and white striped shirt with rigging in the background, signed 'JACKIE". This has long been attributed by family legend as having been executed by the late Jacqueline Kennedy.
3. A portrait of Rose Kennedy, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen's mother, and Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. This watercolor was made after a photo taken in 1939 when the Kennedys visited Buckingham Palace.
4. A jockey in pink uniform on a black horse, possibly a polo player, in oil.
5. A streetscape outlined in pencil with one building colored in oil, possibly a French Street scene, "MARDE".
6. A streetscape outlined in pencil with several buildings and a staircase colored in.
7. A pencil sketch of a woman who looks a lot like Jackie Kennedy, holding an umbrella.
8. A very colorful bouquet of flowers in a vase on a table, executed in oil.

It is interesting to note that Jacqueline Kennedy was known to have purchased a painting set for her husband back in 1953. The paintings offered here are believed to have been rendered in 1954, 1955. John Kennedy was known to have picked up painting during his recovery from back surgery. (His mother Rose, in whose Palm Beach home he was recuperating, complained about the paint splattered all over the sheets.) Kennedy painted mostly seascapes, however the piece depicting a row boat battling a sea monster could certainly attest to his personal adversity at the time.

Multiple pieces of documentation will accompany the 8 pieces of artwork, in addition to the signed Letter of Provenance:

Several letters of correspondence between Mr. Hogan of the auction house "Park-Bernet" with various dates circa 1965 (Park-Bernet was purchased and became Sotheby's in 1964, at the time Park-Bernet was the largest auction house in America) , showing their interest to place the piece in their upcoming Kennedy auction. (Please see images for details)

The Parke-Bernet Painting Departments General Sales Procedure for their auctions with small attached slip of their new commission rates on paintings.

A letter between Mr. Garbutt and Parke-Bernet in which they discuss returning the painting as "The price is unrealistic …"

An 8" x 10" photo of John F. Kennedy's artwork produced by Mel Howard from Hyannis. This photo was originally requested by Parke-Bernet.

A group of 8 3.5" x 3.5" black and white photographs dated April 1965 of the artwork attributed to John and Jacqueline Kennedy in the original vintage photograph envelope.

Three return receipts from March or April 1965 which were evidenced of the parcels being sent to Sotheby's.

A remarkable rarity. John Kennedy loved the water, and sailing. Even once President his occasional doodle would be of his sailboat. An extraordinary set. A full signed lengthy letter of provenance will accompany the artwork. It is shown only in part below.

**For more scans of either the provenance, the letters or the art, please contact our office.**

"June 29, 2020

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Heather Marino. I reside in Marston Mills, MA and Cape Cod has always been part of my life. I was born in 1963, the fateful year of John F. Kennedy's assassination. My uncle and aunt, for many years, owned a candy store in Hyannis. My uncle's name was Robert Garbutt and my aunt's is Carolyn. Their connection to the Hyannis community, and by extension to the Kennedy family, is well documented and includes newspaper articles from the Boston Globe.

My uncle was given a group of eight pieces of artwork from a Kennedy family secretary when John F. Kennedy was a young senator. These items were either discarded or slated to be discarded. The artwork is all approximately 9" x 12" and includes the following, which are also reproduced on this letter ....

Along with this archive of artwork which I inherited from my uncle, is an archive of photographs and letters surrounding my uncle's correspondence with Sotheby's which at the time was called Parke-Bennet [sic] Galleries in New York. The letters begin on February 18, 1965...

There was a conversation between the appraiser at Eldred's of East Dennis, and the man who actually framed the oil painting signed by KENNEDY, in which the gentleman from Cape Cod Framing stated he remembered when Rose Kennedy brought the painting into his shop to be framed ....

According to my aunt, my uncle not only felt, I think accurately, that the artwork was worth much more than Sotheby's had valued it at, but he also had cold feet regarding upsetting Mrs. Kennedy. He was unwilling to sell these for what was at that time, not a great deal of money .... "

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

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From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000