Jackie Drawing

John F. Kennedy on the campaign trail
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, 1961
Ink on board

"I want to live my life, not record it." —Jacqueline Kennedy
Though rarely seen, there must be hundreds of little drawings by Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis lining pages of notebooks and sketchbooks, in collections of friends and family. Drawing was simply a normal activity for her — a fun part of every day life. Growing up, she often spent time alone drawing and writing stories.
Fearless, Jackie Kennedy made eight drawings of her husband as she waited to be interviewed for the July 4, 1961, issue of Look Magazine. These ink cartoons on card stock show John F. Kennedy in various scenarios while campaigning for president. Above, JFK is interviewed by reporters while wrapped in towels, still wet from a shower.

Jacqueline Kennedy drawing in Ravello, Italy, 1962 by Benno Graziani
with sister Princess Lee and Prince Radziwill in background

"We are not the Brontë sisters, but Jackie and I did ocasionally put pen to paper, particularly when we gave presents to our mother —for Christmas or her birthday or an anniversary—since shefar preferred something we had written or drawn to anything we might buy for her." —Lee Bouvier
In the summer of 1951, Jackie and Lee Bouvier went off for a Grand Tour of Europe. In Venice, Jackie found a dashing artist and "was off every day scribbling with her art teacher." The sisters sent hilarious illustrated letters and poems home to their mother.

These handwritten letters, complete with illustrations and snapshots, were compiled and published as a book in 1974 — One Special Summer.

Most of the text is by Lee Bouvier but the drawings and poetry are all Jackie. The book is a period piece and an utter joy. It's a great place to explore the drawing delights of an exceptional woman.
“You have to be doing something you enjoy. That is a definition of happiness: “complete use of one’s faculties along lines leading to excellence in a life affording them scope”. It applies to women as well as to men. We can’t all reach it, but we can try to reach it to some degree” —Jacqueline Kennedy