The Other Side – Betty Ford, Six of Hearts
1999, oil on three linens, 5×12”
Betty Ford was lively and opinionated. She was an advocate for such causes as the Equal Rights Amendment, rights for the handicapped, rights for the mentally handicapped, liberalized abortion laws, and the early detection of breast cancer (she underwent a mastectomy while First Lady). After her years in the White House, she admitted to alcoholism and helped establish the Betty Ford Clinic (a chemical-dependency recovery center).
Betty’s brave and candid revelations about her breast cancer and alcoholism helped create a more open climate for discussing these issues, and surely helped save and improve many lives.
But there is another side of Betty. She was a dancer — serious enough to have studied under Martha Graham. She also was a White House prankster who loved to laugh. In her autobiography, Betty discloses her fear that history might overlook her lighter side and associate her only with social causes. In this painting, Betty is depicted dancing for herself, unaware that Gerald has entered the painting.