Blog Post – September 28, 2015

Secretary-General Meets Pope Francis, Golden Rule

Pope Francis, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, signs the United Nations guest book (with Rockwell’s painting in background). UN Photo/Mark Garten.

Our acclaimed exhibition, We The Peoples: Norman Rockwell’s United Nations officially closed on September 15, yet the United Nations Headquarters in New York continues to experience unique “Norman Rockwell” moments.

This past Friday, September 25, the United Nations welcomed His Holiness Pope Francis, during his first-ever visit to the United States. Prior to addressing the UN’s General Assembly, Pope Francis took time out to admire Norman Rockwell’s Golden Rule, which remains on temporary loan to the UN from the Museum’s collection. Rockwell’s painting, in fact, served as the perfect backdrop for the pontiff’s visit, where he had referenced the concept of “the golden rule” during his historic address to Congress just the day before. Pope Francis can be seen signing the UN’s guestbook in the same room where Rockwell’s welcoming artwork is currently displayed.

UN_DSG_Jan Eliasson_Obamas_NR_UN

United Nations Deputy Secetary-General Jan Eliasson talks about Norman Rockwell’s 1953 “United Nations” drawing, with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo: Sam Afridi/United Nations

Today, President Barack Obama delivered his own speech to the UN General Assembly, and had the opportunity to learn more about Rockwell’s enduring art. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, who was instrumental in making the We The Peoples exhibition happen, took time to show both the President and First Lady Michelle Obama a print of Rockwell’s 1953 United Nations drawing, which served as the centerpiece for the 70tn anniversary display. President Obama, who in 2009 requested a White House loan of the Museum’s Problem We All Live With painting to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ruby Bridges’ historic walk, seemed “genuinely impressed” according to UN officials.

Norman Rockwell Museum has been honored to share its collection with the United Nations, distinguished world leaders, and the public, and is pleased that the artist’s heartfelt themes continue to resonate with the public after all these years.


Related Links:

We The Peoples: Norman Rockwell’s United Nations

“Rockwell Painting Backdrop for Meeting Between Pope Francis, U.N. Secretary General,” 

Berkshire Eagle, September 25, 2015