Dallas Museum of Art to Show Artwork from JFK’s Hotel Room Before His Assassination

Second (smaller) Bedroom, Suite 850, Hotel Texas, Fort Worth, Friday, Nov. 22, 1963 showing works by Thomas Eakins, Charles M. Russell, Owen Day/Danna Day Henderson Papers. (Photo by Byron Scott courtesy Dallas Museum of Art)

The Dallas Museum of Art has a peculiar show in store for the spring. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy, the museum will present “Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy,” which opens May 26, 2013, and features artwork that was in the Fort Worth hotel suite of the Kennedys, the last place they stayed before President Kennedy was assassinated.

In Suite 850 at the Hotel Texas, there were paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Thomas Eakins and Franz Kline, and sculptures by Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore. But this wasn’t the normal fare for visitors to the Hotel Texas. It was a special collection pulled together by notable Fort Worth collectors during the days leading up to the president’s visit and was conceived as a three-part show that would unfold from room to room—a little Claude Monet in the parlor, Impressionist masterworks in the master bedroom (as per the tastes of the First Lady) and some Marsden Hartley in the second bedroom—the president’s room. This spectacular, and in retrospect macabre, private art show was culled from local art collections, both private and public.

“It’s not a story about death. It’s not a story about hate. It’s a story about art and love,” said Olivier Meslay, who curated the exhibition at the DMA, to The Washington Post. Art and love aside, conspiracy theorists need not feel left out. There will be plenty of photographs, videos and other archival materials on view of the suite before the arrival of the president and Mrs. Kennedy as well as material related to the the president’s 1963 trip to Texas and his assassination. Dallas Museum of Art to Show Artwork from JFK’s Hotel Room Before His Assassination