Aaron Shikler was an artist who made his name painting sensitive and thoughtful portraits of some of America’s most esteemed political figures, including the famous portrait of John F. Kennedy with his eyes cast down.
Now, the bright and airy apartment where the painter lived most of his adult life at 44 West 77th Street has just hit the market, asking $7 million.
According to the listing’s broker, Monica Luque of Douglas Elliman, Shikler moved into the apartment sometime in the early 1960’s and lived there until his death in 2015. His two children, Cathy van Ingen and Clifford Shikler, are selling the unit because “they’re ready to move on with their lives.”
Luque says the home is “magnificent” and features all of the original details from when it was first built, including gas lamps. The building was built in 1900 and was designed by the developer Walter Russell Bond and Realty specifically for artists. The units all have 14.5-foot ceilings and massive windows that overlook the Museum of Natural History.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home has a library, a dining room with original wood paneling and, of course, plenty of space to hang artwork.
Shikler painted many notable figures including Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Lady Bird Johnson, Hillary Clinton and Lauren Bacall. He was best known, however, for his portraits of the Kennedys; in addition to President Kennedy, he painted Jackie, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline.
For the portrait of John F. Kennedy, Shikler made the choice to capture him in the unusual pose of looking down “not because I think of him as a martyr, but because I wanted to show him as a president who was a thinker … A thinking president is a rare thing.”