Little Bits of History

Inspirational Americana

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 6, 2014
Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell

Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell

March 6, 1943: Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell is published in The Saturday Evening Post. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address is also known as the Four Freedoms speech. In that address, Roosevelt listed the four freedoms that should be available to all Earthlings, not just Americans. Rockwell did a series of four oil paintings of the Four Freedoms. Each picture measured about 46 by 35 inches. This was the third picture in the series. Each of the pictures was featured in The Post with Freedom of Speech appearing on February 20, Freedom of Worship was included on February 27, and Freedom from Fear followed on March 13. The most famous of these is Freedom from Want, also called The Thanksgiving Picture.

Rockwell produced 322 magazine covers for The Saturday Evening Post. He began working with them in 1916 and his last cover was December 16, 1963 and was his Kennedy Memorial cover. During the 1950s his popularity was rivaled only by Walt Disney as both were popular visual artists. During World War I, Rockwell had been second fiddle to more established artists and under scrutiny from editor George Horace Lorimer. But after the editorship changed hands in 1937, Rockwell was much less restricted. During World War II, many of his covers showed the human side of the American war effort. His covered encouraged the purchase of war bonds, women working outside the home, and men joining in the war effort.

Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894 to a family who had been in America even before it was America with his earliest ancestor travelling from England to present day Connecticut in 1635. Norman transferred to the Chase Art School at the age of 14 and continued to study at that National Academy of Design. He went on to the Art Students League where he was able to produce work good enough for publication. In 1913, Rockwell became the art editor for Boys’ Life published by the Boy Scouts of America, a place that had already published some of his art. He was 19 at the time and held the job for three years before moving on.

While working with The Post, he had many famous paintings. Some of the more famous were these four paintings. Also well known was Rosie the Riveter, The Problem We All Live With, Saying Grace, and the Willie Gillis series. After four decades with the same magazine, Rockwell went to work for Look magazine for the next ten years. He was commissioned to paint Presidential portraits for Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. One of his last paintings was a portrait of Judy Garland in 1969. He died of emphysema in 1978 at the age of 84.

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.

I’ll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I’d like to.

Everyone in those days expected that art students were wild, licentious characters. We didn’t know how to be, but we sure were anxious to learn.

No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He’s got to put all his talent and feeling into them! – all from Norman Rockwell

Also on this day: Edgar Allan Poe – In 1831, Poe was expelled from West Point.
Missouri Compromise – In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was signed into law.
Remember the Alamo – In 1836, the Alamo fell.
Aches and Pains – In 1899, aspirin was patented.

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2 Responses

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  1. vanbraman said, on March 7, 2014 at 1:51 am

    Rockwell also has Mayflower ancestors.


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