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Suite 850 Will Be Recreated Inside the Dallas Museum of Art

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  Site Where: 815 Main St [map], Fort Worth, TX, United States, 76102
September 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM | by | ()

In a new exhibit at The Dallas Museum of Art, paintings that once hung on the walls of suite 850 (pictured above) in the Hotel Texas will be gathered together for the first time since November 22, 1963. And if that suite number—or the date—seem significant, then you're right. It's where President John F Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy spent their last night before the former President's assassination.

The Washington Post reports on an interesting background story about the artworks: prior to the Kennedys' arrival, local newspapers had painted such a bad portrait of the hotel's "unremarkable" Suite 850 that prominent citizens rallied to fill the space with some impressive highbrow art.

And now the museum is re-assembling the collection in time for the fiftieth anniversary of JFK's death. Visitors to the exhibit will get to experience the exact same art that the Kennedys did in 1963, thereby re-living a unique moment in US hotel history.

Says Olivier Meslay, the exhibit's curator:

"It’s not a story about death. It’s not a story about hate. It’s a story about art and love, which I think is a very good tribute to the Kennedys. It’s all about their love of art."

Of the 16 total works of art that were put on display in the Kennedys' suite, 14 will be on view during "Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy," including Van Gough's Road with Peasant Shouldering a Spade, Thomas Eakins' Swimmers, and a bronze by Picasso.

Meanwhile, about 32 miles west, the ex-Hotel Texas operates these days as the Hilton Downtown Fort Worth, offering King rooms for as low as $194. And we're, uh, guessing rooms have been spruced up a little since 1963—while the above photo is culturally significant, we can't say it's the most enticing hotel room photo we've ever seen. Those curtains? Yikes!

[Photo: Amon Center Museum of American Art Archives, Byron Scott / Associated Press]

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