Senator Teddy Kennedy, 1932-2009

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In tribute and in honor of Edward "Teddy" Kennedy, who passed away early this morning at age 77, the National Portrait Gallery announces that it will display, beginning tomorrow, a silk-screened portrait of the senator from Massachusetts. Today, President Obama noted that Kennedy was "not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy."

The screen print was created as a campaign fundraiser by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) during Kennedy's unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1980. The artwork subtly plays off the colors of the flag. Thin red and blue lines trace Kennedy's silhouette.

"Warhol loved depicting celebrities and clearly he saw Kennedy as having all the power and glamour that goes with being well-known and admired by the general public," says the museum's deputy director and chief curator Carolyn Kinder Carr. "A hallmark of Warhol’s style was the imaginative ways in which he animated a face. With the Kennedy portrait, he used the colors of the American flag and diamond dust to energize his image and suggest the patriotic nature of his campaign."

The image itself comes with onerous rights protections and so unfortunately, we can't reproduce it on the blog. But a print is available for viewing here. The museum says it will display the Warhol print "indefinitely."

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