Freda Reiter’s color pastel recreations of Richard Nixon’s resignation and other Oval Office scenes, as well as, her life sketches of the Watergate trials are the products of an era with very different rules for the media. In the 1970s, news photographers had only limited access to an increasingly reclusive president, and laws prevented them from taking cameras into legal proceedings. To fill the visual void television networks employed artists like Reiter who were allowed to sketch in courtrooms, and could also use their imaginations to recreate important moments that had already passed.
Freda Reiter (1919-86) began making black-and-white courtroom sketches for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper in 1949, and switched to color pastels after moving to ABC-TV in 1966. You can view a selection of her Nixon / Watergate drawings in Gallery 98’s online exhibition Watergate Courtroom Sketches by Freda L. Reiter, 1973 – 75. These museum worthy drawings are priced from $1800 to $3600.