Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms Paintings
Thanksgiving and Norman Rockwell – a Great Combination
Thanksgiving time seems the perfect time for a Norman Rockwell picture. The younger generation may not be very familiar with Norman Rockwell but my generation surely knows a lot about him and his work. His keen, homey instinct for the “cute” but important details of American life which he painted so skillfully is truly an American treasure.
Lynn and I have visited the Norman Rockwell Museum and were fascinated at his works and his career as a commercial artist. It seems cruelly ironic that he never received the acclaim that other artists receive for their “pure” art – art that is not specifically produced for commercial sale value.
Though most of Rockwell’s art appeared on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post magazine, The Four Freedoms are perhaps his best known and “purist” art – even though they, too, were produced for and appeared in The Saturday Evening Post magazine.
Video From the Norman Rockwell Museum
More About The Four Freedoms (Norman Rockwell)
Four canvas series displayed by date of publication
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||Each ≅ 45.75 by 35.5 inches (116.2 cm × 90.2 cm)|
|Location||Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, United States|
The Four Freedoms is a series of four 1943 oil paintings by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear—are each approximately 45.75 inches (116.2 cm) × 35.5 inches (90 cm), and are now in the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The four freedoms refer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s January 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union address in which he identified essential human rights that should be universally protected. The theme was incorporated into the Atlantic Charter, and became part of the charter of the United Nations. The paintings were reproduced in The Saturday Evening Post over four consecutive weeks in 1943, alongside essays by prominent thinkers of the day. They became the highlight of a touring exhibition sponsored by The Post and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The exhibition and accompanying sales drives of war bonds raised over $132 million.
This series has been the cornerstone of retrospective art exhibits presenting the career of Rockwell, who was the most widely known and popular commercial artist of the mid-20th century, but did not achieve critical acclaim. These are his best-known works, and by some accounts became the most widely distributed paintings. At one time they were commonly displayed in post offices, schools, clubs, railroad stations, and a variety of public and semi-public buildings.
Critical review of these images, like most of Rockwell’s work, has not been entirely positive. Rockwell’s idyllic and nostalgic approach to regionalism made him a popular illustrator but a lightly regarded fine artist during his lifetime, a view still prevalent today. However, he has created an enduring niche in the social fabric with Freedom from Want, emblematic of what is now known as the “Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving”.
Further detail about Norman Rockwell and these paintings is available at Wikipedia at the link below.
What do you think or remember about Norman Rockwell?
I remember a lot of the Saturday Evening Post covers from the time when I was 5 – 10 years old in the 1040s.
I liked the ones that featured children in funny poses and in various situations like at the dentist, at the ice cream parlor, etc.
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