A rare exhibition of Norman Rockwells iconic artworks makes its only stop in the Northwest at the Tacoma Art Museum
on through May 30, 2011. As part of its 75th anniversary year, the museum welcomes American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell, which celebrates the full range of Rockwell's artwork, including 44 paintings and 323 original Saturday Evening Post covers. Additionally, archival materials depict how Rockwell worked: from preliminary sketches, photographs, color studies, and detailed drawings to the finished painting. This nationally-acclaimed travelling exhibition organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts has been viewed by enthusiastic audiences in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, Kansas, and North Carolina and will continue on to California for its final showing after it leaves Tacoma.
Norman Rockwell created unforgettable images of the innocence, courage, history, and hopes of American life in the 20th century. Expertly weaving stories throughout his images, Rockwell proved that he was a consummate visual storyteller with a finely honed sense of what made an image successful in the new, rapidly changing era of mass media. Rockwells unique artistic legacy, established during 65 years of painting, spans some 4,000 works of art. From touching scenes of everyday life to powerful images documenting the American Civil Rights movement, Rockwell captured the American experience through his images, many of them now icons of American culture.
Rockwell's works are part of our popular consciousness, said Margaret Bullock, Curator of Collections and Special Exhibitions at Tacoma Art Museum. Although people know his printed images, many have never seen the original paintings and may not realize that Rockwell was a masterful painter. It's one of the great discoveries in this exhibition.
American Chronicles traces the evolution of Rockwells art and iconography from his reflections on childhood innocence in No Swimming (1921), in which a few boys try to escape being caught at a local watering hole, to his images of America during World War II and his powerful depiction of the Four Freedoms (1943), which include meditations on our freedom of speech and worship along with our freedom from want and fear. Later in his career, Rockwell focused on consciousness-raising works such as The Problem We All Live With (1963), which documented the traumatic realities of desegregation in the South.
Rockwell captured the tenacity of the American spirit like no other artist in recent history, said Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of Tacoma Art Museum. His images not only evoke memories from the past, but they also call on the young and old alike to consider what it means to be an American today. We invite the community to discover and savor the art, programs, and special events related to such an iconic, American artist.