16 INCREDIBLE FREDA REITER PASTEL COURTROOM DRAWINGS OF THE INFAMOUS SENATE INVESTIGATION INTO WATERGATE: SUCH ARTWORK PROVIDES THE ONLY EXTANT VISUAL RECORD
REITER, Freda. Watergate Hearings. [New York: American Broadcasting Company, 1974]. Sixteen large original full-color pastel drawings, measuring 16-1/2 by 13-1/2 inches. $4800.
Sixteen original pastel drawings (11 signed) of the infamous Watergate Hearings, featuring Haldeman, Erlichman, Mitchell, and Neal, by Freda Reiter, one of the premier sketch artists and political portraitists of modern times.
Court-imposed prohibitions against cameras of any kind in many high-profile cases had created a demand for capable and accurate quick-sketch artists, whose work now comprises the only visual record of those incredible events. “They sit hunched over their drawing boards trying to capture, in a few moments, the likenesses… Courtroom artists may get little respect on the cultural scene, but collectors are paying attention.” Philadelphia-born artist Freda Reiter enjoyed a lifelong reputation as one of the premier sketch artists and political portraitists of modern times. “She was able to get the gestures and expressions down in a really convincing way, without exaggerating anything. I think the problem today is that most courtroom artists have trouble getting a likeness at all” (Neil Wedman). Reiter was formally trained in Philadelphia and studied with Diego Rivera in the early 1940s. Her principal employers were The Philadelphia Inquirer and ABC-TV, who assigned her to some of the most sensational trials of the last half of the 20th century, including “Son of Sam,” John Hinckley, Patty Hearst, and Watergate. This superb collection of 16 original courtroom sketches by Reiter documents for television audiences events of the infamous Watergate Hearings. “Decades after Richard Nixon resigned the office of the president, Watergate remains one of the top presidential scandals of modern time. Early in the morning on June 17, 1972, police discovered five intruders inside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. The burglars were there, it turned out, to adjust bugging equipment they had installed during a May break-in and to photograph the Democrats' documents. The Watergate investigation brought fame to The Washington Post and the reporting team of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein [along with their mysterious informant, Deep Throat]. The duo unraveled a web of political spying and sabotage that had all the elements of a Hollywood saga. In the end, after 40 government officials were indicted and a president resigned, many would conclude that the system of checks and balances worked. Yet, the triangular relationship between public officials, the media and the public was altered forever” (The Washington Post). Political investigations began in February 1973 when the Senate established a Committee to investigate the Watergate scandal. The public hearings of the Committee were sensational, including the evidence of secret White House tape recordings, sparking a major political and legal battle between the Congress and the President. The final blow came with the decision by the Supreme Court to order Nixon to release more White House tapes. One of these became known as the ‘smoking gun’ tape when it revealed that Nixon had participated in the Watergate cover-up as far back as June 23, 1972.
Pastel colors very vivid. Fine condition.