11/22/2013 12:25 pm ET

After Kennedy Tragedy, Finding Solace In Art

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In 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy created the office of the White House curator, transforming the nation’s most famous residence for the first time into a collecting art institution, which it remains to this day. But that same year, she also reached out for a handful of artworks that would come to play a profoundly personal role in her life before and after her husband’s death.

Asking him to help her give the White House a “Boston complexion where possible,” Mrs. Kennedy phoned Perry T. Rathbone, then the director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and received a loan of, among other works, six luminous watercolors by John Singer Sargent.

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