INSPIRED: NORMAN ROCKWELL AND ERIK ERIKSON

FINAL DAYS
June 8 through October 27, 2019

In February 1959, Norman Rockwell appeared on Edward R. Murrow’s celebrity interview show, Person to Person. For decades, Rockwell had painted wholesome scenes of American life, and Murrow interviewed Rockwell at his home in the bucolic small town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. On the program, the artist described how much he and his family loved living in Stockbridge, never mentioning, of course, that they had made the town their home because it was also home to the Austen Riggs Center, a psychiatric institute where his wife, Mary, had been receiving treatment. Several years earlier, at a challenging time in his life, Rockwell himself had entered therapy at Riggs with Erik Erikson, a renowned developmental psychoanalyst who is perhaps best known for coining the phrase, “identity crisis.” The two men, both giants in their fields, became both confidants and friends, and as revealed in this exhibition, their far-reaching discussions fueled and influenced aspects of their work.

The development of identity was among Erikson’s greatest concerns, both personally and as a theorist. He maintained that, from infancy to childhood, personality is formed in a predetermined order through eight stages of psychosocial development, garnering varied outcomes dependent upon one’s experience. Highly regarded for this work, Erikson had not always been certain about his direction and vocation. In his youth, he considered the possibility of life as an artist, and traveled through Germany and Italy where he sold or traded artworks along the way.

Designed in collaboration with the Austen Riggs Center—a vital therapeutic community now in its 100th year—the exhibition will explore the relationship of the artist and the psychoanalyst, who fueled each other’s creativity in unique and important ways. Rockwell and Erikson’s artworks, rare photographs, personal correspondence, and video installations will be on view.

Learn more about the Austen Riggs Center’s Centennial exhibit at the Old Corner House here…

Major sponsors: Audrey and Ralph Friedner and TD Bank

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) Portrait of Erik Erikson, 1962. Charcoal on paper. Collection of Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA

Norman Rockwell and Mollie Rockwell with Erik and Joan Erikson in his Stockbridge Studio, 1962. Photograph. Norman Rockwell Museum Collection. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Born in New York City, 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.

At age 21, Rockwell’s family moved to New Rochelle, New York, a community whose residents included such famous illustrators as J.C. and Frank Leyendecker and Howard Chandler Christy. There, Rockwell set up a studio with the cartoonist Clyde Forsythe and produced work for such magazines as Life, Literary Digest, and Country Gentleman. In 1916, the 22-year-old Rockwell painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, the magazine considered by Rockwell to be the “greatest show window in America.” Over the next 47 years, another 321 Rockwell covers would appear on the cover of the Post. Also in 1916, Rockwell married Irene O’Connor; they divorced in 1930.

The 1930s and 1940s are generally considered to be the most fruitful decades of Rockwell’s career. In 1930 he married Mary Barstow, a schoolteacher, and the couple had three sons, Jarvis, Thomas, and Peter. The family moved to Arlington, Vermont, in 1939, and Rockwell’s work began to reflect small-town American life.

In 1943, inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt’s address to Congress, Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms paintings. They were reproduced in four consecutive issues of The Saturday Evening Post with essays by contemporary writers. Rockwell’s interpretations of Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear proved to be enormously popular. The works toured the United States in an exhibition that was jointly sponsored by the Post and the U.S. Treasury Department and, through the sale of war bonds, raised more than $130 million for the war effort.

Although the Four Freedoms series was a great success, 1943 also brought Rockwell an enormous loss. A fire destroyed his Arlington studio as well as numerous paintings and his collection of historical costumes and props.

In 1953, the Rockwell family moved from Arlington, Vermont, to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Six years later, Mary Barstow Rockwell died unexpectedly. In collaboration with his son Thomas, Rockwell published his autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, in 1960. The Saturday Evening Post carried excerpts from the best-selling book in eight consecutive issues, with Rockwell’s Triple Self-Portrait on the cover of the first.

In 1961, Rockwell married Molly Punderson, a retired teacher. Two years later, he ended his 47-year association with The Saturday Evening Post and began to work for Look magazine. During his 10-year association with Look, Rockwell painted pictures illustrating some of his deepest concerns and interests, including civil rights, America’s war on poverty, and the exploration of space.

In 1973, Rockwell established a trust to preserve his artistic legacy by placing his works in the custodianship of the Old Corner House Stockbridge Historical Society, later to become Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge. The trust now forms the core of the Museum’s permanent collections. In 1976, in failing health, Rockwell became concerned about the future of his studio. He arranged to have his studio and its contents added to the trust. In 1977, Rockwell received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

IMAGES

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) Portrait of Erik Erikson, 1962. Charcoal on paper. Collection of Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA

Norman Rockwell and Mollie Rockwell with Erik and Joan Erikson in his Stockbridge Studio, 1962. Photograph. Norman Rockwell Museum Collection. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency

RELATED EVENTS

Fri 25

Norman Rockwell and Erik Erikson in Detail

October 25 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

MEDIA

Art New England September/October, 2019  Inspired: Norman Rockwell and Erik Erikson

WAMC June 11, 2019  50 Years Of Illustration At Norman Rockwell Museum

The Berkshire Eagle May 31, 2019  Erikson and Rockwell: How their friendship helped shape the art

VENUE(S)

Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA      June 8 through October 27, 2019

HOURS

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

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

Rockwell’s Studio Open:
The studio is currently open through October during regular business hours.

Terrace Cafe Open: during regular business hours.
View the menu here…

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

Holiday Closings
The Museum is Closed:

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

 

ADMISSIONS

Members: FREE
Kids/Teens 18 and under FREE
Adults $20
Seniors (65+): $18
Veterans: $17
College students with ID: $10
Teachers Current K-12 Public School Teachers from MA, NY, CT, VT with school ID: FREE

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

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

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

Save More with Ticket Packages

DIRECTIONS

Norman Rockwell Museum
9 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.