Norman Rockwell - “Triple Self-Portrait,” 1959 Oil on canvas, 44 ½” x 34 1/3”. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” February 13, 1960. Norman Rockwell Collections. ©1959 SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN

Until May 20th 2012 – Winnipeg Art Gallery

For the first time ever an exhibition of the work of Norman Rockwell is coming to Canada—and it’s coming to the WAG! One of the most popular North American artists of the past century, Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was a keen observer of human nature and a gifted storyteller. For nearly seven decades, Rockwell chronicled our changing society in the small details and nuanced scenes of ordinary people in everyday life, providing a personalized interpretation—often an idealized one—of North American identity. His depictions offered a reassuring visual haven during a time of momentous transformation as North America evolved into a complex, modern society. In addition to 42 major paintings by the artist depicting good times and bad, quaint pastimes and charged current events, the exhibition includes archival material, photographs, and complete set of 323 tear sheets from The Saturday Evening Post.

Norman Rockwell - The Problem We All Live With - oil on canvas, 36" x 58". Illustration for Look, January 14, 1964. Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, IL.

Rockwell’s contributions to our visual legacy, many of them now icons of North American culture, have found a permanent place in our psyche. Representing the exhibition’s only Canadian venue, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is partnering with the Norman Rockwell Museum, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to bring a major exhibition of this defining artist to Canada for the first time.

Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978). Going and Coming, 1947. Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, August 30, 1947. Oil on canvas. Two panels, each 16 x 31 1/2 in. (40.6 x 80 cm). Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust. © The Norman Rockwell Estate / ©1947 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, Indiana


N
orman Rockwell found success early, being commissioned to design four Christmas cards before his sixteenth birthday. In 1916 the 22-year-old painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, the magazine he considered to be “the greatest show window in America.” Over the next 47 years, Rockwell’s art appeared on the cover of The Post 323 times. Although often seen as a painter of idealized North American family life, Rockwell also chronicled the darker side. His Four Freedoms paintings, inspired by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s address to Congress in 1943, toured the United States in an exhibition sponsored by The Saturday Evening Post and the U.S. Treasury Department and, through the sale of war bonds, raised more than $130 million for the war effort. Murder in Mississippi is a haunting depiction of the murder of civil rights workers in 1965. The Problem We All Live With dealt with the issue of school racial integration, depicting a young African American girl, Ruby Bridges, flanked by white federal marshals, walking to school past a wall defaced by racist graffiti.

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