Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

JFK photos sold at New York auction

A rare image of Marilyn Monroe with John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy
One of Stoughton's most famous images shows Lyndon Johnson being sworn in aboard Air Force One following JFK's assassination

A trove of John F Kennedy pictures by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton, including a rare image of Marilyn Monroe with the president and Robert Kennedy at a Democratic fund-raiser, fetched 151,000 dollars (£95,500) at auction.

The Monroe photograph, contained in an envelope labelled "Sensitive Material - May 19, 1962" with 22 other gelatin silver prints of the event, sold for 9,150 dollars (£5,790), above its pre-sale estimate of 4,000-to 6,000 dollars (£2,530-£3,797).

"It's the only image of the three of them together," said Matthew Haley, Bonhams' expert for books, manuscripts and historical photographs. "There are very few prints of this photo."

The collection was offered by Stoughton's estate at Bonhams auction house in New York. It included 12,000 photographs, and was estimated to bring 200,000 dollars (£126,500).

Stoughton was the first official White House photographer. He captured public as well as intimate Kennedy moments. About 60% of the images are of public events. The rest are of private moments - the children's birthday parties, family Christmases, and vacations in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

One of Stoughton's most famous images shows Lyndon Johnson being sworn in aboard Air Force One following Kennedy's assassination on November 22 1963.

The photo shows Johnson with his hand raised taking the oath of office surrounded by his wife and Jacqueline Kennedy still wearing her blood-splattered dress. It sold for 13,420 dollars (£8,493), above its pre-sale estimate of 5,000-7,000 dollars.

"It is one of the most iconic images of the 20th century," said Mr Haley.

Johnson signed it: "To Cecil Stoughton, with high regards and appreciation, Lyndon B Johnson."

In the immediate chaotic aftermath of the assassination, Stoughton learned that Johnson was being sworn in on the aircraft on a Dallas airfield and rushed over in a car, said Mr Haley. As he was running across the Tarmac, "the Secret Service thought it was another assassination attempt and almost fired at him".

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