Commemorates the 70th Anniversary of The United Nations Through Exhibition of Rockwell’s Humanitarian Works
Presents American Illustration Exhibitions on “New Yorker” Artist Roz Chast, J.C. Leyendecker, and Harvey Dunn
Stockbridge, MA, February 17, 2015—Norman Rockwell Museum today announced its 2015 season, presenting the enduring legacy of Norman Rockwell and highlighting the tremendous contributions of America’s illustration masters, through special exhibitions, collaborations, programs, events, and digital initiatives.
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of The United Nations, the Museum is collaborating with the United Nations Foundation to mount a special exhibition of selected artworks, created by Norman Rockwell, for public display in the UN Headquarters in New York City. Opening in their Visitor Centre on June 15, the featured work will be Rockwell’s 1953 “United Nations” drawing and related sketches that served as the inspiration for his iconic 1961 painting, “Golden Rule.” Accompanied by additional art and photos that illustrate Rockwell’s humanity, the exhibition will compliment a large mosaic of “Golden Rule,” presented to the UN thirty years ago as a gift on behalf on the United States by First Lady Nancy Reagan and the Thanks-giving Square Foundation of Dallas, Texas. The exhibition will be on view at the Centre through January 2016, with related activities planned in both New York and Stockbridge to mark the anniversary.
“Norman Rockwell was a keen observer of people and believed that every person mattered. As he matured as an artist, his subject matter frequently addressed issues of social change and our common humanity,” notes Norman Rockwell Museum Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt. “We are honored to be partnering with the United Nations, at the invitation of Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its peacekeeping efforts. Eliasson believes that Norman Rockwell’s artwork captures the humanitarian aims of the United Nations and embodies ideals for all people. Indeed, Rockwell’s interest in portraying international figures, America’s civil rights movement, the early work of the Peace Corps, United Nations, and The Four Freedoms (soon to celebrate their own 75th anniversary), informed and helped shape civil society in America, as did the work of many other illustration artists of that time. We look forward to exploring these concepts further this year through our exhibitions and programs.”
J.C. Leyendecker and The Saturday Evening Post
March 21 through June 14, 2015
Opening this March at Norman Rockwell Museum, “J.C. Leyendecker and The Saturday Evening Post” will present all 322 covers created by the influential illustrator, J.C. Leyendecker (1874-1951), who was admired by Rockwell as a master in the field. Often remembered for his beautifully conceived posters and advertisements—particularly those featuring The Arrow Collar Man—Leyendecker’s stylized “Post” covers reflected the social and cultural history of his time, with commentary on such significant events as World War I, The Great Depression, and World War II. The exhibition will include his popular Post covers depicting the New Year’s Baby, Santa Claus, and stylish men and women, which all became his trademark and had a huge influence on twentieth century visual culture. Visitors will have the opportunity to compare the collection of Post covers with all 321 created by Rockwell, as well as view a selection of original Leyendecker paintings loaned from private and public collections.
A special program will be held on Saturday, March 21, at 4 p.m., with author/historians Judy and Laurence Cutler. The exhibition is sponsored by William Hargreaves, Valerie and George Kennedy, and Carol Konner.
Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs
June 6 through October 26, 2015
Continuing a long tradition of illustrated covers, “The New Yorker” regularly features the work of talented visual communicators. One of the most popular illustrators today, Roz Chast is best known for engaging images that frequently deal with the trials of domestic and family life. Debuting this June at Norman Rockwell Museum, “Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs” will present original art by this award-winning cartoonist, whose new graphic memoir was released last year to critical and public acclaim. Michiko Kakutani of the “New York Times” mused that “Ms. Chast reminds us how deftly the graphic novel can capture ordinary crises in ordinary American lives.”
Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for non-fiction, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” explores the modern dilemmas of aging and health care with Chast’s signature wit and style. The Museum’s exhibition will feature original artworks from this memoir and others that showcase the full range of Chast’s talent as artist and storyteller. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the artist during a special gala opening event on Saturday, June 6, from 6 to 10 p.m.
Harvey Dunn and His Students
November 7, 2015 through March 6, 2016
This fall, Norman Rockwell Museum will look at the work of another of America’s great Golden Age illustrators, Harvey Dunn (1884-1952). A prodigy of legendary artist Howard Pyle, Dunn became an admired artist and teacher in his own right, helping create modern concepts of twentieth-century America.
“Harvey Dunn and His Students” will be the first major retrospective of the artist’s work. Organized in conjunction with the South Dakota Museum of Art (SDMA), South Dakota State University, the exhibition will feature Dunn’s painterly illustrations for such prominent periodicals as “Scribner’s,” “Harper’s,” “Collier’s Weekly,” and “The Saturday Evening Post.” It also will showcase artworks created for the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I, in which the artist recorded the unforgettable realities of war. This collection of works from SDMA’s permanent collection will include examples of Dunn’s love of South Dakota landscape and history. Original artworks by Dunn’s many prodigious students, including Dean Cornwell, Mead Schaeffer, and Harold von Schmidt, will also be featured.
Rockwell on the Road: Traveling Exhibitions
Norman Rockwell Museum engages a broad and diverse audience, reaching far beyond Stockbridge, with 16 curated exhibitions on Rockwell and many other noted American Illustrators traveling to museums across the nation and abroad. Following its European debut at the Fondiazone Roma Museo in Rome, Italy, “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell” returns stateside to open at the Tampa Museum of Art in Tampa, Florida on March 6 through May 31, 2015. The acclaimed traveling exhibition, which features iconic works from Norman Rockwell Museum’s permanent collection, will come home to the Museum in Stockbridge this summer and fall. Having toured 17 cities in three countries so far, and drawing record-breaking crowds wherever it opened, American Chronicles will close after two final destinations in Utah at Brigham Young University Museum or Art, and in Virginia at the Taubman Museum of Art.
The Museum’s popular traveling exhibition, “Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera,” will return home from the road this winter, and examples of Rockwell’s reference photography and the work it inspired will be on view at the Museum in the coming months.
Following its debut at Norman Rockwell Museum through March 8, “Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure” will travel to the Museum of Shenandoah Valley, in Winchester, Virginia from May 9 through August 2, 2015. The exhibition examines the renowned historical painter’s career—from illustrator of men’s adventure magazines and movie posters, to highly collected civil war paintings. Subsequently, this exhibition will travel to The Citadelle Art Foundation in Canadian, Texas, in early September.
Artist Mort Künstler will return for two events (February 21 and March 7, 2015), to offer his personal insight into the creative and technical process of visualizing history.
On February 28, the Museum’s Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies will present the lecture, “Visual Obsessions: Norman Rockwell, Al Parker, and Illustrative Characters in World War II.” Rockwell Center Fellow James J. Kimble, PhD, will examine the impact of illustration on the American public during the wartime era and beyond.
Also in February, the 29th Annual Berkshire County High School Art Show is on view, presenting a diverse exhibition of original works by hundreds of high school art students from the region. On view through March 8, this special showcase of the area’s young talent is sponsored by Berkshire Bank Foundation.
The Museum’s ongoing Four Freedoms Forums will present “The Pen and the Sword: Visual Imagery and Freedom of Expression” on Thursday, April 9, starting at 5:30 p.m., exploring the role of the artist as social commentator and the relationship of imagery to the issue of free speech. Inspired by Norman Rockwell’’s “Four Freedoms” paintings, these guided community conversations are free to the public.
Looking ahead, the Museum will present such highlights as school vacation week workshops, to be held in February and April; an art workshop with illustrator Elwood Smith on May 2; a baseball-themed family festival day on May 30; and a summer art intensive with illustrator William Low, from July 27 through 31, focusing on narrative painting and drawing. A fourth United States Naturalization Ceremony is also planned for sometime later in the year.
Today, with renewed national interest in the field of illustration, Norman Rockwell Museum has embarked on a defining initiative to provide even greater access to our growing illustration collections—digitizing them, publishing them online, and using them in new, creative ways to engage students and scholars in the galleries and on the web by exploring what these images have to say about our society, world and national events, and ourselves. New programming will be presented in the coming months that will illuminate Rockwell’s unique expressions of tolerance, kindness, mutual respect, human rights, democracy and freedom, service to community, and civic responsibility.