Framing the First Lady: The Portraits of American Presidential First Ladies

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dc.contributor.advisor Griffey,, E en
dc.contributor.advisor Lees-Marshment,, J en Maki, Renisa en 2015-08-03T21:43:05Z en 2015 en
dc.identifier.citation 2015 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract This thesis analyses the official painted portraits of American presidential first ladies, commissioned for the White House art collection and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. This is the first academic research on first lady portraiture. Whilst some political scientists have paid scholarly attention to the work and role of first ladies, their portraiture has not been examined in any detail nor has it been addressed as a specific body of work in art historical literature. The portraits will be scrutinised with comparative visual analysis to demonstrate how changing socio-political gender roles, and the evolution of the Office of the First Lady, have influenced the series style and conventions. Since official first lady portraits were only commissioned from 1961onwards after the creation of the White House Historical Association, portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy, Claudia Alta Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson, Thelma “Pat” Nixon, Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush are studied. Analysis is informed by interviews with curators and White House staff, archival research with primary sources, portraiture theory, political marketing theory, and existing literature on first ladyship. Thesis chapters are structured to firstly contextualise the history behind the commissioning process for both collections. Secondly the role of a first lady, with its gendered expectations, is discussed in terms of how these portraits depict her with an emphasis on femininity and domesticity. Thirdly, using an interdisciplinary methodology of art history and political marketing, portraits are analysed to reveal how a first lady’s policy work is marketed to the public through iconography. This thesis aims to showcase the value and work of first ladies through the discussion of their official portraits. First lady portraits have portrayed the status and role of presidential spouses as historically passive but increasingly active contributors to society. This research therefore benefits disciplines of art history, political science and gender studies, and encourages further scholarship on the seldom studied field of first ladyship. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264791209702091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Framing the First Lady: The Portraits of American Presidential First Ladies en
dc.type Thesis en Art History en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
pubs.elements-id 492906 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2015-08-04 en
dc.identifier.wikidata Q112909802

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