Since 2012, New Yorkers have been able to meander, picnic and announce failed presidential bids at a stunning memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms on Roosevelt Island. This spring, an even more in-depth look at that famous concept is coming to the New-York Historical Society along with original Norman Rockwell paintings inspired by your grandparent's favorite meme.
From May 25 until September 2, “Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms” will be on view at the Upper West Side cultural institution. In addition to examining American culture leading up to World War II and the ideals behind Roosevelt’s 1941 address to Congress, the exhibition will also examine the artistic response to the idea of the Four Freedoms including work by, you guessed it, Norman Rockwell.
The original four Rockwell paintings that popularized the “freedoms” (freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear and freedom from want) will all be on display. Those paintings went on a 16-city tour in 1943 and ended up raising $132 million in war bonds. Suck on that, Koons!
“Norman Rockwell’s iconic images remind us of the significant role his work played in inspiring Americans to embrace Roosevelt’s call to protect freedom around the world,” says Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “At the same time, Rockwell’s art underscores the enduring importance of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech. What Rockwell and Roosevelt identified as central to human dignity in the era of World War II is equally valid today.”
After closing in New York, the exhibition will go on an international tour before landing at its forever home, the Norman Rockwell Museum, in Stockbridge, MA in the fall of 2020.