Norman Rockwell in the 1940s: A View of the American Homefront

An exhibition organized by Norman Rockwell Museum

Host this exhibition.  Learn More >

About the Exhibition

…suddenly remembered how Jim Edgerton had stood up in a town meeting and said something that everybody else disagreed with. But they had let him have his say. No one had shouted him down. My gosh, I thought, that’s it. There it is. Freedom of Speech. I’ll illustrate the Four Freedoms using my Vermont neighbors as models.
—Norman Rockwell

Many of Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers during the 1940s were inspired by life on the American homefront during World War II. Rockwell’s powerful Four Freedoms, unforgettable Rosie the Riveter, exuberant Homecoming Soldier, and hapless but lovable infantryman, Willie Gillis are among the many memorable images contained within this exhibition of original tearsheets featuring forty-four Rockwell illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post.

Image Left: Rosie the Riveter (detail), Norman Rockwell. 1943. Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, May 29, 1943. ©1943 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN

Freedom of Speech (detail), Norman Rockwell. 1943.  Story illustration for
The Saturday Evening Post, February 20, 1943. From the permanent collection of
Norman Rockwell Museum. ©1943 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN

About Norman Rockwell

Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.
—Norman Rockwell

Born in New York City in 1894, Norman Rockwell always wanted to be an artist. At age 14, Rockwell enrolled in art classes at The New York School of Art (formerly The Chase School of Art). Two years later, in 1910, he left high school to study art at The National Academy of Design. He soon transferred to The Art Students League, where he studied with Thomas Fogarty and George Bridgman. Fogarty’s instruction in illustration prepared Rockwell for his first commercial commissions. From Bridgman, Rockwell learned the technical skills on which he relied throughout his long career.

Rockwell found success early. He painted his first commission of four Christmas cards before his sixteenth birthday. While still in his teens, he was hired as art director of Boys’ Life, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, and began a successful freelance career illustrating a variety of young people’s publications.

Read More…


Host this Exhibition

Contact Information:

Mary Melius
Manager of Traveling Exhibitions


Complete Facts
Contents: approx. 20 original tear sheets and or prints plus introductory and biographical panels and three photograph panels
Security: Moderate, security hardware required
Environment: Light level—10-foot candles, humidity—50% plus or minus 5%, no direct sunlight
Shipping & Insurance: Borrowers will be responsible for shipping costs and insuring the exhibition while it is in their care both during transportation and while on display.
Speaker: Upon request

Venues Hosting This Exhibition

This exhibition is available for hosting