Meet Rockwell’s United Nations Model

NR Reference photo, UN, 1953

Pauline Adams (lower right) and family pose for Norman Rockwell’s “United Nations,” early 1950s. Photo by Gene Pelham. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved.

On Friday, October 2, we welcome Pauline Adams Grimes, one of the original models for Norman Rockwell’s 1953 “United Nations” drawing to speak at the Museum, as part of our Meet Rockwell’s Models program, starting at 2:30 p.m. Ms. Grimes will share her memories of Norman Rockwell, as well as her experience seeing the drawing for the first time during a recent visit to the UN’s Headquarters. Also scheduled to appear is Claire Williams, a lifelong Stockbridge resident, who Rockwell discovered in a town sketch class, and used as model for his series of Massachusetts Mutual advertisements. Meet Rockwell’s Models program is held every first Friday of the month.

A resident of Cambridge, New York, Pauline Adams Grimes and her siblings were introduced to Norman Rockwell back in the early 1950s, by folk artist/neighbor Grandma Moses, who knew that Rockwell was looking for a multi-ethnic crowd to appear in a charcoal sketch that he was working on about the then newly-formed United Nations in 1953. Ms. Grimes and her family posed for several photos in Rockwell’s Arlington, Vermont studio, and she ended up pictured in the bottom right of the drawing. Although traveling to the UN’s headquarters in New York City to conduct research and photograph actual delegates to appear in the illustration, Rockwell eventually put the image aside. He later revisited the concept for his iconic 1960 painting, “Golden Rule.” Both works were recently on view at the UN as part of the Museum’s exhibition, “We The Peoples: Norman Rockwell’s United Nations,” which commemorated the peacekeeping organization’s 70th anniversary.

“We The Peoples: Norman Rockwell’s United Nations” officially closed on September 15, yet the UN Headquarters in New York continues to experience unique “Norman Rockwell” moments. In the past week, both Pope Francis and President Barack Obama made visits to the UN, and had the opportunity to view Rockwell’s work, which remains on loan. Learn more: www.nrm.org/2015/09/honoring-the-golden-rule

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