Gallery 98

Art Ephemera 1963 – 2001

Watergate Courtroom Sketches by Freda L. Reiter, 1973–75

Nixon resigns

Freda Reiter, “Alone in Oval Office,” pastel on paper, 1975. Reiter imagined Nixon shedding a tear after signing his resignation letter.

A Republican president on the verge of impeachment, accused of obstructing an investigation into the theft of information from the Democratic National Committee—this was the story in 1973 and 1974, when members of Richard Nixon’s administration went on trial, and the phrase “Watergate” became shorthand for a many-layered political scandal. Artist Freda L. Reiter (1919–1986) captured the drama in pastel drawings broadcast on ABC-TV: courtroom scenes drawn from life, as well as visual recreations of Nixon’s tape-recorded conversations, and even of the moment he resigned from the presidency.

Watergate was as much a media event as a political one. The story that broke on June 17, 1972, when five burglars were caught wiretapping the DNC headquarters at the Watergate complex, blew up when investigations by the Washington Post and other papers tied the burglary to Nixon’s White House.

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Exhibition Items

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Freda Reiter – President Richard Nixon, H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman in Oval Office – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Nixon, Charles Colson in Executive Office – Pastel Drawing

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Freda Reiter – Nixon, Colson on Phone – Pastel Drawing

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Freda Reiter – Senator Sam Ervin, Senate Watergate Committee Hearings – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – G. Gordon Liddy and Wife Frances Liddy – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – E. Howard Hunt Out on Bail – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – White House Plumbers – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – John Dean Goes to Testify – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Guards Outside Grand Jury Room – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Empty Grand Jury Room – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Herbert Porter Pleading Guilty of Perjury – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Prosecutor Jill Wine-Volner Questions Jeb Magruder – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Haldeman Questioned by Richard Ben-Veniste – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Ben-Veniste Questions Dean, as Ehrlichman Watches – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Dean Testifies at Trial of Dwight Chapin – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Maureen Dean – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Nixon’s attorney, James D. St. Clair – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – St. Clair petitions Supreme Court – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Haldeman listens to Nixon White House tapes – Pastel Drawing

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Freda Reiter – John Mitchell listens to Nixon White House tapes – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Ehrlichman Listens to Nixon White House Tapes – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Judge John Sirica Instructs Watergate Jury – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – Sirica reads verdict, 1974 – Pastel Drawing

Freda Reiter – ‘Alone in Oval Office’ – pastel drawing