Norman Rockwell – Virtual Tour
Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978) was an American painter and illustrator whose works achieved broad popular appeal in their reflection of American culture.
Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life that he created for “The Saturday Evening Post” magazine over nearly five decades.
After “The Saturday Evening Post” published the “Four Freedoms’ series, it received millions of reprint requests.
The Four Freedoms were issued as posters by the United States Government Printing Office and as postage stamps by the United States Postal Service. By the end of the war, four million posters had been printed.
Rockwell noted that the series took an emotional toll on him, saying the works were
“serious paintings which sucked the energy right out of me like dredges, leaving me dazed and thoroughly weary.”
These are his best-known works and became some of the most widely distributed American paintings. At one time, they were commonly displayed in post offices, schools, clubs, railroad stations, and a variety of public buildings.
Art critics reviews of these images, like most of Rockwell’s work, were not entirely positive. Rockwell’s idyllic and nostalgic approach to regionalism made him a famous illustrator but a lightly regarded fine artist during his lifetime.
Virtual Tour of Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell: A collection of Paintings
Highlights Tour of Norman Rockwell
Freedom of Speech
The “Freedom of Speech” was the first of the Four Freedoms paintings by Norman Rockwell that were inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address.
The painting depicts a scene of a local town meeting in which there is a lone dissenter to the town’s announced plans, but he is accorded the floor as a matter of protocol and freedom of speech.
The blue-collar speaker wears a plaid shirt and a suede jacket. He has dirty hands and a darker complexion than others in attendance. The other attendees appear to be older and more formally dressed.
Freedom of Worship
The “Freedom of Worship” is the second of the Four Freedoms by Norman Rockwell and shows the profiles of eight heads overlapping and close together.
The figures represent people of different faiths in a moment of prayer.
Rockwell considered this painting and “Freedom of Speech” the most successful of the series.
Freedom from Want
The “Freedom from Want” by Norman Rockwell is also known as “The Thanksgiving Picture” or “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and is the third of the “Four Freedoms” series of four paintings.
The painting depicts people gathered around a dinner table for a holiday meal. It was created in 1942 and had since then become an iconic representation for Americans in family holiday gatherings.
The people in the picture were friends and family of Rockwell in Arlington, Vermont.
They were photographed individually and then painted into the scene.
Freedom from Fear
“Freedom from Fear” by Norman Rockwell was the fourth of the “Four Freedoms” paintings produced for the series of images.
The painting shows two children sleeping safely in their beds, as their parents look on.
Their mother tucks them in, while their father holds a newspaper describing the horrors of the ongoing conflict during World War II.
The father is holding his glasses, together with the newspaper, which has a headline reads “Bombings Ki … Horror Hit”, referencing the Blitz in London.
Norman Rockwell Museum
The Norman Rockwell Museum is dedicated to the art of Norman Rockwell and is home to the world’s most extensive collection of original Rockwell art.
The museum was founded in 1969 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where Rockwell lived during the last 25 years of his life.
The museum’s collection includes over 570 original works of art by Rockwell and houses the Norman Rockwell Archives, of over 100,000 items, including photographs, fan mail, and business documents.
Norman Rockwell’s Art
- Artist: Norman Percevel Rockwell
- Born: 1894, New York City, New York, U.S.
- Died: 1978 (aged 84), Stockbridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
- Nationality: American
- Category: American Painters, Famous Artists,
- Notable works:
A Virtual Tour of American Artists You Should Know
- John Singleton Copley (1738 – 1815)
- Benjamin West (1738 – 1820)
- Gilbert Stuart (1755 – 1828)
- John Trumbull (1756 – 1843)
- George Caleb Bingham (1811 – 1879)
- Frederic Edwin Church (1826 – 1900)
- James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903)
- Winslow Homer (1836 – 1910)
- Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926)
- John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925)
- Childe Hassam (1859 – 1935)
- George Bellows (1882 – 1925)
- Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967)
- Grant Wood (1891 – 1942)
The Art of Norman Rockwell
“The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure.
So, you see, they’re always looking ahead to something new and exciting.
The secret is not to look back.”
– Norman Rockwell
Photo Credit: United States Bureau of Reclamation, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons