Norman Rockwell is best remembered for his covers on The Saturday Evening Post for nearly five decades. The nation followed the career of Willie Gillis, fell in love with Rosie the Riveter and examined its civic responsibilities with an image of a young African American entering a formerly segregated school. But Rockwell was more than just an illustrator.
Dr. Timothy Standring, the Gates Family Foundation Curator at the Denver Art Museum, will discuss the circumstances leading up to the creation of Rockwell’s paintings “The Four Freedoms” (1943) and the astonishing impact they had on a nation recovering from the Depression whilst mobilizing Americans behind a war on foreign soil. Following their publication in the Saturday Evening Post, the four works were shown on a tour of 16 cities across the nation in an effort to sell bonds to support the war effort. Astonishingly, that tour raised over 133 million dollars. And yet the Office of War Information originally rejected his contribution, telling him that they were going to use “real artists.”
This anecdote and others form the heart of Standring’s probing look at these four powerful images, as well as his behind-the-scenes stories leading up to “Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom,” an exhibition organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, opening on May 3, 2020 at the Denver Art Museum. What a better way of fostering civic discourse during the summer of political conventions.