Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms is the first comprehensive traveling exhibition devoted to Norman Rockwell’s iconic depictions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. It illuminates both the historic context in which FDR articulated the Four Freedoms and the role of Rockwell’s paintings in bringing them to life for millions of people, rallying the public behind the War effort and changing the tenor of the times. In telling the story of how Rockwell’s works were transformed from a series of paintings into a national movement, the exhibition also demonstrates the power of illustration to communicate ideas and inspire change.
In addition to his celebrated paintings of the Four Freedoms, the exhibition brings together numerous other examples of painting, illustration, and more, by both Rockwell and a broad range of his contemporaries—from J.C. Leyendecker and Mead Schaeffer, to Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks, among others—as well as historical documents, photographs, videos, and artifacts; interactive digital displays; and immersive settings. While exploring the response of an earlier generation to the plea for defense of universal freedoms, the exhibition also resonates with our own time.
Leadership support for Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms is provided by Jay Alix, The Alix Foundation and the George Lucas Family Foundation.
National Presenting Sponsor is
Major support provided by Anonymous, Michael Bakwin, Helen Bing, Elephant Rock Foundation, Annie and Ned Lamont, Ted Slavin and
Additional support provided by Anthony and Susan Consigli, Ralph and Audrey Friedner, Louise Holland, and our GoFundMe supporters.
a division of the Saturday Evening Post, and the Norman Rockwell Family Agency.
Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms and its international tour are organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA. The exhibition is co-curated by Stephanie Plunkett, Deputy Director/Chief Curator, Norman Rockwell Museum, and James Kimble, Associate Professor of Communication, Seton Hall University.
WHAT DOES FREEDOM MEAN TO YOU?
Norman Rockwell Museum needs your support for a historic tour that will travel America’s greatest treasures — Rockwell’s original Four Freedoms paintings — across our country.
Millions of people, including thousands of school children, will experience Rockwell’s masterpieces, which have rarely left the Norman Rockwell Museum.
The Life of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, 1943. Comic book. Office of War Information Publication. Collection of Norman RockwellMuseum.
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965), Migrant Mother (Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California), February or March 1936. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [LC-DIG-fsa-8b29516].
Unknown photographer, Berta Golahny on stool, by classmates with whom she painted mural of the Four Freedoms for Detroit storefront; 1943.
The Problem We All Live With Norman Rockwell, 1963 Oil on canvas, 36″ x 58″ Illustration for Look, January 14, 1964 Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, IL. From the permanent collection of Norman Rockwell Museum.
CALL TO ARTISTS: Reimagining the Four Freedoms Juried Exhibition
National/international call to artists working in all media to create a new work inspired by the theme of the Four Freedoms or the meaning of freedom today, for possible selection and inclusion in a major international traveling exhibition and/or its digital compendium, together with Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms, and other significant works. The application process for this is now closed.
EXHIBITION TOUR TO DATE
New-York Historical Society New York, NY May 25, 2018 –September 2, 2018
The Henry Ford Museum Dearborn, MI October 13, 2018 –January 13, 2019
The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum Washington, DC February 9, 2019 –May 6, 2019
Mémorial de Caen Normandy, France June 4, 2019 –October 27, 2019
Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX December 15, 2019 –March 22, 2020
Venue TBD April 15, 2020 –July 15, 2020
Norman Rockwell Museum Stockbridge, MA September 2020 –November 2020
Major support has been provided by Jay Alix | The Alix Foundation, the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Travelers Companies, Inc.
Additional support was provided by Anonymous (2), Helen Bing, Elephant Rock Foundation, Ford Foundation, Annie and Ned Lamont, National Endowment for the Arts, and Ted Slavin.
Media sponsor: Curtis Licensing, a division of The Saturday Evening Post, and the Norman Rockwell Family Agency.
Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed. —Norman Rockwell
Born in New York City in 1894, 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.