CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Artist Gardner Cox, who painted a controversial portrait of Henry Kissinger that was rejected by the State Department, has died at the age of 81. Cox, who died Thursday at Mt. Auburn Hospital, had been ill for several months.
An amiable, good-humored portraitist, Cox painted from life as he recorded the likenesses of government leaders, educators, poets, scholars, doctors, lawyers and businessmen.
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Cox was chosen to paint the official White House portrait of Kennedy. After months of attempts with unfamiliar photographs, Cox decided to cancel the commission.
Cox also painted a portrait of Henry Kissinger in 1978 after Kissinger stepped down as secretary of state. Kissinger did not like it, and it was returned to the artist by the State Department.