Award-winning artist Bernadine Stetzel of Freemont, Ohio has donated 71 of her paintings to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Stetzel, 86, has been capturing personal and historical memories in primitive-style paintings and woodcut scenes since she was 12.
Stetzel began the Kennedy Series in 1968, five years after the assassination, and completed it in the late 1980s. The oil paintings depict political and private Kennedy-related events including the Inauguration, March on Washington, private family moments such as Senator Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding, speeches and other poignant occasions. The works capture real historical events but at the same time are “imagined,” as Stetzel puts it, filtered through memory and creativity. “I consider my work a little bit between Grandma Moses and Norman Rockwell,” Stetzel says. “He (Kennedy) always impressed me. He had such a charisma about him. You couldn’t help but like him.”
The artist has received many honors for her artwork. Stetzel won a second place award at the Toledo Museum of Art for the painting, “JFK Ticker Tape Parade.” A number of her works are part of the John Glenn Archives at the Ohio State University Library.