Inside the Hotel Texas: JFK’s Last Art Exhibition

Hotel_texasCurrently on view at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas is Hotel Texas, a moving exhibition that reunites a selection of artworks that were last assembled 50 years ago, in the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth.  Including works by such artists as Monet, Picasso, and van Gogh, An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy was installed in their 3-room suite in the Hotel Texas.  The private exhibition consisted of art drawn from the Amon Carter Museum, the Fort Worth Art Association, and five local private collections; the show was organized by a small group of Fort Worth citizens within days of the President and First Lady’s arrival on November 21st, 1963.  Their generous efforts would be eclipsed, of course, by the tragic events of November 22nd, 1963.  Martin Filler, in a recent post on the New York Review of Books blog, notes that the current exhibition is “[a]mong the more poignant observances surrounding the fiftieth anniversary of the JFK assassination.”

The slideshow below includes three archival photographs of some of the art installed in the Hotel Texas’s suite 850, as well as color photos of the individual works pictured.  More archival photography, as well as insightful essays by Oliver Meslay, Scott Grant Barker, David M. Lubin, Alexander Nemerov, and Nicola Longford, can be found in the exhibition catalogue, released earlier this year by Yale University Press.

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Slideshow Image Credits:

1. Second (smaller) Bedroom, Suite 850, Hotel Texas, Fort Worth, Friday, November 22, 1963
Thomas Eakins, Swimming (formerly, The Swimming Hole)
Charles M. Russell, Lost in a Snowstorm – We Are Friends (formerly, Meeting in a Blizzard)
Owen Day/Dana Day Henderson Papers
Photo by Byron Scott

2. Swimming, 1885
Thomas Eakins (1844–1916)
Oil on canvas
Overall: 27 3/8 x 36 3/8”
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, Purchased by the Friends of Art, Fort Worth Art Association, 1925; acquired by the Amon Carter Museum, 1990, from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth through grants and donations from the Amon G. Carter Foundation, the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, the Anne Burnett and Charles Tandy Foundation, Capital Cities/ABC Foundation, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The R. D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation and the people of Fort Worth. 1990.19.1

3. Lost in a Snowstorm – We Are Friends, 1888
Charles M. Russell
Overall: 24 x 43 1/8″ inches
Oil on canvas
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

4. Living Area, Suite 850, Hotel Texas, Fort Worth, Thursday, November 21, 1963
(four-section coffee table and portion of Chinese wall screen)
Eros Pellini, Nude, bronze (a.k.a., Lombardia Girl)
Owen Day/Dana Day Henderson Papers
Photo by Byron Scott

5. A Girl from Lombardia, 1958-59
Eros Pellini
16 x 7 x 7 inches
Extended Loan to the Palm Springs Art Museum from the Collection of Gwendolyn Weiner

6. Living Area, Suite 850, Hotel Texas, Fort Worth, Thursday, November 21, 1963
Lyonel Feininger, Manhattan II
Franz Kline, Study for Accent Grave
Morris Graves, Spirit Bird
Owen Day/Dana Day Henderson Papers
Photo by Byron Scott

7. Spirit Bird, c. 1956
Morris Graves
Tempera on paper
Overall: 11 ¾ x 17 ½”
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Gift of the William E. Scott Foundation

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