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

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Freda L. Reiter drew only a few sketches of the Senate Watergate hearings in May and June 1973, which were broadcast live on television. Senator Sam Ervin, who headed the hearings, emerged as one of the first heroes in the Watergate investigation.

Pastel Drawing, 17″ x 14″

Watergate exhibition page

Freda L. Reiter


Since cameras were banned from courtrooms, news outlets depended on professional sketch artists like Freda Reiter for visuals. When Reiter was assigned the Watergate burglary trial, in 1973, she had no idea that she would be spending the better part of two years in Washington.

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

To provide sufficient visuals for the substantial airtime allotted to the story each night, Reiter made multiple sketches a day: close-up portraits, as well as wide-angle views of the courtroom incorporating as many as 28 figures.