October 16, 2018
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Press Contacts: Rebecca Marsie, Director of Communications
860.443.2545 x2112 / [email protected]
Vera Harsh, Director of External Affairs
860.443.2545 x2136 / [email protected]


New London – The Lyman Allyn Art Museum is proud to present an exhibition commemorating President John F. Kennedy’s private life and public trajectory. American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times features iconic photographs as well as rarely seen images, covering Kennedy’s first run for Congress, his 1953 marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier, the process of running for President in 1960, life in the White House and the major political issues of his Presidency, to his 1963 assassination in Dallas. The exhibition will be on view from November 2, 2018 through February 24, 2019.

John F. Kennedy’s presidency marked a pivotal period in American history. Kennedy rose to political prominence following World War II as Americans were enjoying the first fruits of a consumer culture. Manufacturing muscle, fueled by the war, was turned to making cars and appliances, while battle-weary correspondents and photographers offered their talents to Madison Avenue and mass media publishing empires. Magazines brimming with glossy photographs flew off of newsstands, while televisions beamed news and images directly into American homes.

This exhibition, one of the most exhaustively researched collections of Kennedy photos ever assembled, depicts a golden age of photojournalism in America—and no single politician was photographed more than JFK. Photographers and news-reel cameramen used images of Kennedy and his young family to convey a vision of a new America—a sophisticated world power engaged in building a bright future for its citizens. Kennedy, in turn, understood the power of pictures to convey his message to voters and was a willing partner in crafting his public persona to help build support for the space program, the Peace Corps, legislation on Civil Rights and immigration, equal pay for women, federal health insurance for the elderly—initiatives that would ensure a more diverse and egalitarian America.

The dramatic scope of Kennedy’s life is evident in these photographs that capture public and private moments from his life. Documentary photographers such as Ed Clark, Lisl Steiner, Ralph Crane, Philippe Halsman, Ted Spiegel, Jacques Lowe, Lawrence Schiller, Steve Schapiro, and Sam Vestal captured the optimism and challenges of the early 1960s in some of the finest and most vivid images of the period.

Highlights of American Visionary include images from Kennedy’s private life—such as a 1953 photo booth snapshot of the Kennedy newlyweds, possibly taken on their honeymoon, and a 1960 photograph by Jacques Lowe of Kennedy boarding the Caroline, his private plane named for his daughter. Images of Kennedy the politician include a 1957 portrait when he served as a Massachusetts senator by Philippe Halsman; and a 1962 photograph of Kennedy giving a televised announcement confirming the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. Also featured are unforgettable images such as Jacques Lowe’s 1961 photograph of Kennedy standing hunched over his desk in the Oval Office, in an effort to alleviate the pain from his problem back, and a haunting photograph of the shattered First Lady departing the White House on the day of Kennedy’s state funeral in 1963, captured by I.C. Rapoport as a brief glimpse through the crowd.

“John F. Kennedy is still seen as a symbol around the world, representing and espousing the best and most universal elements of the American character,” said Stephen Kennedy Smith, Kennedy’s nephew and co-editor of JFK: A Vision for America. “It is our hope that the compelling images of President Kennedy’s life and work on view in this exhibition will remind visitors not only of the values that defined his presidency, but also will introduce him to new audiences and future leaders.”

The following program will be held in conjunction with the exhibition. For further details about programming, please visit

Thursday, January 24, 2019 │ 5:30 – 7:00 PM │ Curator Talk with Lawrence Schiller
Please join us for an intimate talk with the exhibition’s photographer and curator, as well as noted producer, director and screenwriter, Lawrence Schiller. The discussion will explore the development of this iconic photographic exhibition through the eyes of Schiller.

Admission fees for the lectures are $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Interested participants should RSVP for each event to 860.443.2545 ext. 2129.

The opening reception will be on Thursday, November 1 from 5:00 – 7:00pm. Museum members are free and non-members are $10. Please RSVP to 860.443.2545 ext. 2129.

Check the museum website at and the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page for updates and additional programming.

Tours of the exhibition are available for groups. To schedule tours, call Director of Education, Caitlin Healy at 860.443.2545 ext. 2110 or e-mail [email protected]. For more information or to request images, please contact Rebecca Marsie at 860.443.2545, ext. 2112 or at [email protected].

Exhibition Credits
American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times was produced by Wiener Schiller Productions and presented by Lyman Allyn Art Mu­seum in cooperation with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. The exhibit was curated by Lawrence Schiller. With support from Stephen Kennedy Smith, Getty Images, the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, Bank of America, Trustee, and the Department of Economic and Community Development. The exhibition is based on the new book JFK: A Vision for America, by Stephen Kennedy Smith and Douglas Brinkley.

About the Lyman Allyn Art Museum
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum welcomes visitors from New London, southeastern Connecticut and all over the world. Established in 1926 by a gift from Harriet Allyn in memory of her seafaring father, the Museum opened the doors of its beautiful neo-classical building surrounded by 12 acres of green space in 1932. Today it presents a number of changing exhibitions each year and houses a fascinating collection of over 17,000 objects from ancient times to the present; artworks from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, with particularly strong collections of American paintings, decorative arts and Victorian toys and doll houses.

The museum is located at 625 Williams Street, New London, Connecticut, exit 83 off I-95. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sundays 1:00 – 5:00 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. For more information call 860.443.2545, ext. 2129 or visit us on Facebook or the web at:

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