The Norman Rockwell Museum has put together a powerful exhibition based on the prolific artist's 1943 Four Freedoms illustrations. Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt and The Four Freedoms opened at the New-York Historical Society on May 25, 2018, and will travel to six more venues over the next two and half years. The stop at Normandy's Caen Memorial is its only destination outside of the U.S., where it will be displayed from June 4 to October 27, 2019. The timing couldn't be more appropriate as France will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landing just days after the exhibit opens there.
According to Laurie Norton Moffatt, Director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, the exhibit "...will show how Rockwell’s aspirational paintings shifted American attitudes towards engagement in the War in defense of the free world, and, ultimately, helped to make the case for universal human rights. In doing this, the exhibition reveals the enduring power of illustration to communicate ideas and inspire change."
WHY THE CAEN MEMORIAL?
Born amid the turmoil of WWII, the original Four Freedoms were ideals elucidated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want.
The Caen Memorial, a museum and commemorative center for the events of the Great Wars, also focuses on these liberties. Its mission is to raise awareness on the fragility of peace, using the Allies' landing and liberation of mainland Europe on June 6, 1944 as its main vehicle. The Center, built on grounds where the iconic Battle of Normandy took place, is a wealth of authentic information, presented in a timeline format beginning in the pre-war period. It provides crucial contextual info and artifacts on the geopolitical mood of the time, and Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt and The Four Freedoms will offer an important, complementary American perspective.
ART TO DELIVER A PEACEFUL MESSAGE
Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt and The Four Freedoms is not the first time the Caen Memorial employs art as a medium for peace. For the 30th anniversary of its opening this year, the Museum celebrated with an exhibit entitled 30 Years in 30 Photos, all of which were World Press Photo of the Year winners. Caen Memorial also sponsors the International Human Rights Cartoon Awards, and recently hosted a temporary exhibition on Heinous Cartoons from 1886-1945.
The official Norman Rockwell Museum press release explains that it aims to "...illuminate 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, changing the tenor of the times...in highlighting Rockwell’s and his generation’s response to the call for unity in support of these fundamental freedoms, the exhibition resonates powerfully with our own time." Art indeed crosses borders.
Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt and The Four Freedoms exhibition of 70 works of art and other elements, not only includes paintings, illustrations, and prints by both Rockwell and his contemporaries, but also a variety of supporting components and memorabilia that create a vivid image of the times.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), Freedom from Fear, 1943. Oil on canvas, 45 ¾" x 35 ½". Story illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, March 13, 1943. Collection of Norman Rockwell Museum. ©SEPS: Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved. http://www.curtispublishing.com/
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), Freedom from Want, 1943. Oil on canvas, 45 ¾" x 35 ½". Story illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, March 6, 1943. Collection of Norman Rockwell Museum. ©SEPS: Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis,IN. All rights reserved. http://www.curtispublishing.com/
Photograph of Norman Rockwell with Freedom of Speech painting at Four Freedoms War Bond Show, 1943. Photographer unknown. Collection of Norman Rockwell Museum. © Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), The Problem We All Live With, 1963. Oil on canvas, 36" x 58".Illustration forLook, January 14, 1964. Collection of Norman Rockwell Museum.
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