Presidents, Politics and the Pen:
The Influential Art of Thomas Nast

An exhibition organized by Norman Rockwell Museum

Host this exhibition.  Learn More >

About the Exhibition

Harper’s Weekly magazine was hugely popular thanks to its extensive use of illustrations, and its broad editorial content. By the end of 1861, Harper’s had a circulation of 120,000 and became one of the leading magazines of the Civil War period. Thomas Nast (1840-1902) joined the staff of Harper’s in 1862, and rose to prominence for his battle front depictions. As a liberal, progressive paper, Harper’s supported President Abraham Lincoln, the preservation of the Union, and the Republican Party. A view that Nast also held strongly.

With Harper’s as his platform, Nast effectively used satire and masterful caricatures to hold candidates accountable for the issues of the day, which included the economy, political corruption, immigration, and civil rights. Although Nast lacked formal education, he was extremely adept at incorporating allegorical, symbolic, and literary references into his detailed pictures as a way to explain the complex, political issues to Harper’s readers. His representations of the donkey and elephant helped to solidify the enduring images as symbols for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively.

Known as “The President Maker,” Nast’s persuasive, and sometimes scathing, cartoons proved crucial in influencing the nation’s vote and affecting the outcomes of six presidential elections between 1864 and 1884. His illustrations supported the cause he believed was just, and the candidate he thought was best. While the names on the ballots have changed, the issues remain surprisingly similar more than 100 years later.

ABOUT THOMAS NAST

Thomas Nast (September 27, 1840 – December 7, 1902) was a German-born American caricaturist and editorial cartoonist considered to be the “Father of the American Cartoon”. He was the scourge of Democratic Representative “Boss” Tweed and the Tammany Hall Democratic party political machine. Among his notable works were the creation of the modern version of Santa Claus (based on the traditional German figures of Sankt Nikolaus and Weihnachtsmann) and the political symbol of the elephant for the Republican Party (GOP). Contrary to popular belief, Nast did not create Uncle Sam (the male personification of the American people), Columbia (the female personification of American values), or the Democratic donkey, though he did popularize these symbols through his artwork. Nast was associated with the magazine Harper’s Weekly from 1859 to 1860 and from 1862 until 1886.

IMAGES

Thomas Nast Harper’s Weekly September 23 1876
Thomas Nast Harper’s Weekly September 23 1876
Thomas Nast Harper’s Weekly December 2 1876

RELATED EVENTS

Sat 28

Norman Rockwell’s STOCKBRIDGE STUDIO OPENS

April 28 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
May 04

Meet Rockwell’s Models

May 4 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
May 05

Art, Mindfulness, and Self-Reflection

May 5 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
May 11

Norman Rockwell in Detail

May 11 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
May 12

Roleplay! Dungeons & Dragons

May 12 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
May 12

Peter de Sève: Inspired by the Masters

May 12 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Jun 02
Jun 23

The Art of Portraiture

June 23 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

MEDIA

Host this Exhibition

Contact Information:

Mary Melius
Manager of Traveling Exhibitions

413-931-2245
TravExhibits@nrm.org

Complete Facts
Fee:For eight to twelve week exhibition period
Contents:Approximately 30 original tearsheets; photographs; artifacts/personal memorabilia; video interview; introductory and biographical panels; and object/extended identification labels
Security:High. All works must be within sight of a trained security officer/staff member at all times during public hours.
Environment:Light level -18 to 22 foot candles for paintings and 5 to 7 foot candles for works on paper and other light restricted objects. Humidity -50% plus or minus 5% and temperature 68 – 72 degrees, no direct sunlight and no direct contact with light fixtures or heating, air conditioning, ventilation, or electrical outlets.
Space Requirements:Approximately 525.28sf, 77.58lf
Shipping:Air ride, Climate controlled

VENUE(S)

2017-Forward “Available for Travel”

HOURS

Norman Rockwell Museum
is Open 7 days a week year-round

Special April Vacation Week Hours
Open until 5 p.m. all week (4/16 – 4/22)

November – April: open daily:
Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Weekends and holidays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rockwell’s Studio Open:
April 28 through November 12, 2018 (currently closed)

May – October and holidays:
open daily: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Holiday Closings
The Museum is Closed:

  •    Thanksgiving Day
  •    Christmas Day
  •    New Year’s Day

 

ADMISSIONS

Members: FREE
Kids 18 and under FREE
Adults $20
Seniors (65+): $18
Veterans: $17
College students with ID: $10

Museums for All
Free admission with SNAP/EBT Card for up to 4 guests per card. LEARN MORE

Blue Star Families
Active Military / Blue Star Program
Free admission with ID. LEARN MORE

KIDS FREE!
Is made possible in part by:
Blue Star Families

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DIRECTIONS

Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Glendale Road / Route 183
Stockbridge, MA 01262
413-298-4100 x 221

Download a Printable version of Driving Directions (acrobat PDF).

Important note: Many GPS and online maps do not accurately place Norman Rockwell Museum*. Please use the directions provided here and this map image for reference. Google Maps & Directions are correct! http://maps.google.com/

* Please help us inform the mapping service companies that incorrectly locate the Museum; let your GPS or online provider know and/or advise our Visitor Services office which source provided faulty directions.

Route 7 runs north to south through the Berkshires. Follow Route 7 South to Stockbridge. Turn right onto Route 102 West and follow through Main Street Stockbridge. Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
Route 7 runs north to south through the Berkshires. Follow Route 7 North into Stockbridge. Turn left onto Route 102 West at the stop sign next to The Red Lion Inn. Shortly after you make the left turn, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
Boston (two-and-a-half hours) or Springfield (one hour):
Take the Ma ssachusetts Turnpike (I-90) West, getting off at exit 2 – Lee. At the light at the end of the ramp turn left onto Route 20 East and then immediately turn right onto Route 102 West. Follow Route 102 West into Stockbridge Center (about five miles). Continue going west on Route 102 (Main St.). Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
from Albany and west: (one hour) Take I-90 east to exit B3 – Route 22. Go south on New York Route 22 to Massachusetts Route 102 East. Stay on Route 102 East through West Stockbridge. Continue on Route 102 East approximately 5.5 miles until you come to a blinking light at the intersection of Route 183. Make a right at the blinking light onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
(two-and-a-half hours) Take either the New York State Thruway or the Taconic State Parkway to I-90 East. Follow I-90 East to exit B3 – Route 22. Go south on New York Route 22 to Massachusetts Route 102 East. Stay on Route 102 East through West Stockbridge. Continue on Route 102 East approximately 5.5 miles until you come to a blinking light at the intersection of Route 183. Make a right at the blinking light onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
(one-and-a-half hours) Take I-91 North to the Massachusetts Turnpike. Take the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) West, getting off at exit 2 – Lee. At the light at the end of the ramp turn left onto Route 20 East and then immediately turn right onto Route 102 West. Follow Route 102 West into Stockbridge Center (about five miles). Continue going west on Route 102 (Main St.). Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
(five minutes)
Go west on Route 102 (Main St.). Shortly after going through town, you will veer to the right to stay on Route 102 West for approximately 1.8 miles. At the flashing light, make a left onto Route 183 South and the Museum entrance is 0.6 miles down on the left.
2017-03-01T11:38:05+00:00