Jackie Kennedy Image for Auction at Bonhams New York

One of the most famous and sombre images of the 20th century is for auction at Bonhams Madison Avenue New York on 9 December.

Hours after the assassination of John Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B Johnson raises his hand to be sworn in as the 36th President of the USA. Alongside him stands a shocked and grieving Jackie Kennedy in the blood-stained dress she had worn as she cradled her dying husband in her arms.

The picture – signed by President Johnson – was taken aboard Air Force One by Chief White House Photographer Cecil Stoughton and is part of a fascinating cache of photographs charting the Kennedy Presidential years expected to raise more than $200,000.

In stark contrast is a very rare photograph of Marilyn Monroe with John Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General, Robert at a Democratic fundraiser, on May 19 1962 found in an envelope marked ‘Sensitive Material’ and estimated at $4,000-6,000. It was taken shortly after the actress had famously sung, “Happy Birthday Mr President” at Madison Square Gardens and she is still wearing the pearl-encrusted dress which had caused such a stir. There was a strictly enforced rule that Monroe and the President should never be photographed together but this image seems to have evaded the eagle eye of the Secret Service.

Lighter moments are also captured. ‘Kennedy Children at the White House’ taken in 1963 shows Kennedy clapping as John Junior and Caroline dance round the Oval Office. It is inscribed, “For Captain Stoughton – who captured beautifully a happy moment at the White House. John F Kennedy” ($7,000-9,000).

www.bonhams.com/usa/books

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