Norman Rockwell, “Freedom from Want,” circa 1943, oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 35 1/2 inches, Norman Rockwell Museum

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 — launches in 2018. When and where?

Over the next two years, several institutions will proudly host a touring exhibition of Norman Rockwell’s iconic “Four Freedoms.” According to the Rockwell Museum, “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.

Norman Rockwell, “Freedom of Speech,” circa 1941-43, oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 35 1/2 inches, Norman Rockwell Museum

“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— from J.C. Leyendecker and Mead Schaeffer, to Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks, among others — as well as historical documents, photographs, videos, and artifacts; interactive digital displays; and immersive settings.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.”

Norman Rockwell, “Freedom from Fear,” circa 1943, oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 35 1/2 inches, Norman Rockwell Museum
Norman Rockwell, “Freedom of Worship,” circa 1943, oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 35 1/2 inches, Norman Rockwell Museum

The exhibition begins this summer, in June 2018 at the New York Historical Society, where it will remain on view through August 2018. From there, the exhibition travels to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, from October through December 2018. Although a venue has not been chosen, the exhibition will then travel to Washington, D.C., where it will hang from February through April 2019. The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, will host the exhibition from June-August 2019 before travelling to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia from October-December 2019. In 2020, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, will hang the show form February-April before wrapping up the tour at the Mémorial de Caen in Normandy, France, from June-October.

To learn more, visit the Norman Rockwell Museum.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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