BEAUTIFUL LARGE VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT BY CAMELOT PHOTOGRAPHER MARK SHAW OF JOHN AND JACKIE KENNEDY CONVERSING WITH FAMILY AT THE KENNEDY COMPOUND, WITH SHAW’S STUDIO STAMP
(KENNEDY, John F. and Jacqueline) SHAW, Mark. Gelatin silver print. New York: Mark Shaw, 1963. Black-and-white photographic print, measuring 13-1/2 by 9 inches. $4500.
Vintage photographic print, taken in Hyannis Port in the fall of 1959, depicting John Kennedy having a conversation on the couch while Jackie and Joseph Kennedy have a discussion off to the side. Bears Shaw’s own studio stamp and “Private Print” on verso.
Photographed in 1959 during the final push of Kennedy’s presidential campaign, this image was evidently printed by photographer Mark Shaw in 1963, most likely in preparation for his book, The John F. Kennedys. The gelatin silver print shows the Kennedy family congregating in the living room as they generally did after dinner, with John sitting on the couch having a conversation, while Jackie stands off to the side with Joseph Kennedy. “Just as Abraham Lincoln thought Mathew Brady’s photography won him the presidency, so Jackie Kennedy thought Mark Shaw’s pictures helped her husband win the 1960 election. ‘They really should be in the National Gallery!’ she enthused… Shaw was very much a part of Camelot and his most famous still photography is associated with that period” (Sullivan, 492). Shaw began his career as a fashion photographer for publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Mademoiselle, and LIFE Magazine. His talent for discovering new designers and trends caught the eye of Jackie Kennedy, who was growing increasingly visible as the wife of a senator and who was already on her way to becoming a style icon. In 1959, seeking to bolster JFK’s presidential campaign, the Kennedys agreed to let Shaw have unrestricted access to their home and lives in order to do a photo-essay for LIFE called A Frontrunner’s Wife. Shaw proved unintrusive, managing to take extraordinary candid shots that Jackie compared to the work of Caravaggio. Shaw quickly became a family friend and was a frequent guest in the Kennedy home. Allowed complete access to the family, Shaw began to take photographs of the Kennedys in Georgetown and in Washington; on vacation in Hyannis Port and elsewhere; and even in the White House once JFK was elected President. In 1964, the year after this print was produced, the image appeared as a half-tone in The John F. Kennedys, a photobook that Shaw compiled just after JFK’s assassination for Farrar, Straus as a tribute to the family he had grown to love. After JFK died, Shaw became quite protective of the Kennedy prints and put together just five complete albums of the photographs used in the books to be given to four members of the Kennedy family and Dr. Max Jacobson, Kennedy’s personal physician. As Shaw died unexpectedly in 1969 at the age of 47, Kennedy prints bearing his studio stamps are quite rare. Shaw studio stamp dated 1963 and “Private Print” stamp on verso. Pen and pencil numbers on verso. Faint orange crop markings on left edge of image.