Elected to the United States Senate in 1962, Edward Kennedy owed his early success to his close identification with his elder brothers, President John F. Kennedy, whose Senate term he completed, and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Praising their commitment to public service, he acknowledged, "I'm very proud of that association."
Kennedy built on this legacy when he sought the presidency in 1980. Andy Warhol's silkscreened portrait, created as a campaign fund-raiser, plays off the colors of the American flag and suggests the glamour of politics by enhancing the candidate's features with thin red and blue lines and diamond dust. Warhol’s portrait of Kennedy is now on display at the National Portrait Gallery, on the museum’s first floor.
Although Kennedy lost the 1980 Democratic nomination to Jimmy Carter, whom Warhol had portrayed four years earlier, the long-serving senator became an influential leader in his party, addressing such issues as health care, education, and immigration reform.
Edward Moore Kennedy / Andy Warhol / Screenprint with diamond dust on board, 1980 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution / © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.