Online Collection

"Freedom 7"

Object Number: 2011.034.0033
Category: Art
Type of Object: Artwork
Dimensions: 16 x 16 in. (40.6 x 40.6 cm)
Oil painting on canvas created by artist Bernadine Stetzel that depicts astronaut Alan Shepard being retrieved by helicopter following his historic flight on Freedom 7, when he became the first American to enter space.

Artist Stetzel described this piece as follows: "NASA astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. is recovered by a U.S. Marine helicopter team after his successful flight in Freedom 7, Project Mercury."

An enthusiastic supporter of John F. Kennedy, Stetzel was devastated by the assassination. Shortly after visiting the president’s gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery in 1968, she began work on a series of paintings that depicted the life of the late president. Between 1968 and 1985, with a long break in the middle, Bernadine Stetzel created 71 works that followed John F. Kennedy from his christening ceremony to the eternal flame at his gravesite.

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