Studio of Mark Balma
EBAY REPRESENTS ON LINE AUCTION OF “PIETA”PAINTING (JFK ASSASSINATION); HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT AMERICAN PAINTING
Minneapolis, MINN (MMD Newswire) October 29, 2008 -- Ebay will be hosting the international online auction of an important American painting about the John F. Kennedy assassination called Pieta. The large 5’x7’ historical work poignantly depicts a stirring scene at Parklawn Hospital in Dallas, as Jacqueline Kennedy cradles President Kennedy in her lap in the back of the presidential limousine after being shot 43 years ago on November 23, 1963.
The Pieta (Italian for compassion) painting has been controversial since its creation and many public museums were approached but refused the work calling “inappropriate” or “too emotional”. Balma, recognized for his Historical Portraits of Presidents and World Leaders, hopes to find a private or public collection to hold the work for future generations. The auction will have an opening bid of $750,000. UNICEF will receive a donation 20% of the auction sale. Related materials also include, items such as Balma’s early sketches for the work and a replica of the famous pink brocade ensemble by the First Lady, which was worn by the portrait model that posed for the work. The dress was specially created by tailor Carlos Chavez from the Oleg Cassini design.
About the Pieta and the Painter
Since there were no photographs or news footage of the limousine as it arrived at Parklawn Hospital, Balma’s painting relied on an obscure narrative passage from controversial Warren Commission Report on the assassination, which reads, “For a moment, Mrs. Kennedy refused to release the president whom she held in her lap.” But prior to discovering this detail in two years of intense research for the painting, Balma, first received a visual inspiration for the painting while traveling through the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport in 2002. Doctor Phillip Williams, who was an intern at the hospital that day and only one of two surviving people on site that day along with Secret Service Agent Clint Hill (who threw himself on the president and the first lady after the shots rang out), confirmed how chillingly accurate the painterly depiction really is.
“The painting is in the style of other historical paintings that belong to the national memory, like Washington crossing the Delaware, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and others,” Balma notes, pointing out how the title alludes to the famous Michelangelo sculpture of Mary and the crucified Jesus, which is called “The Pieta” and on display at the Vatican. “This historical work one just happens to capture a period in our history that is not uplifting but nonetheless important, since in many ways it marked an end of innocence in American life and politics. It is more like Goya’s ‘Third of May’ painting, or Picasso’s abstract work about the Spanish Civil War, ‘Guernica.’”
“History is the memory of a nation. Through art and history we honor and transmit our cultural values. That is reason enough for Balma’s “Pieta” to become part of our historical artistic heritage,” notes Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D. Professor of Art History, Fairfield University, Connecticut. Based on such similar observations and reactions from those who’ve seen the painting, it’s very possible that when people look back on the art that interpreted the assassination event in 100 years, this will be the piece that they will turn to.
For more information – -- please contact, 952-473-2881, www.markbalma.com