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 of Want, and Freedom of Fear.
Rockwell, Roosevelt, & the Four Freedoms explores the indelible odyssey of humanity’s greatest ideals.
The notion of the Four Freedoms has inspired dozens of national constitutions across the globe, yet Franklin D. Roosevelt’s declaration that the United States was willing to fight for Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear—now considered a sublime moment in rhetorical history—did not turn out to be the immediate triumph envisioned by the President. As the nation found itself sliding ever closer to direct involvement in World War II, the underlying meaning of his words captured surprisingly little attention among Americans. Following his January 6, 1941, Annual Message to Congress, government surveys showed that only half of Americans were aware of FDR’s Four Freedoms and that less than a quarter could identify them correctly. Moreover, many had no clear idea why the United States was being called upon to enter the war.
It would take the continuous efforts of the White House, the Office of War Information, and scores of patriotic artists to give the Four Freedoms new life. Most prominent among those was Norman Rockwell, whose images became a national sensation in early 1943 when they were first published in The Saturday Evening Post. Roosevelt’s words and Rockwell’s artworks soon became inseparable in the public consciousness, with millions of reproductions publicizing the Second War Loan Drive bringing the Four Freedoms directly into American homes and workplaces. When Eleanor Roosevelt convinced United Nations delegates to include these ideals in its postwar statement of human rights, FDR’s words—now forever entwined with Rockwell’s images—achieved immortality.
Born amid the turmoil of World War II, the Four Freedoms have since become one of its greatest legacies, a testament to the paramount importance of human rights and dignity. Brought forward by one of America’s greatest presidents and immortalized by one of its most beloved artists more than seventy-five years ago, the Four Freedoms continue to inspire, resonating across generations as strongly today as they did in their time.
CO-PRESENTING MAY 25, 2018 - SEPTEMBER 2, 2018:
ROOSEVELT HOUSE (REIMAGINING THE FOUR FREEDOMS)
OCTOBER 13, 2018 - JANUARY 13, 2019:
THE HENRY FORD MUSEUM
20900 Oakwood Blvd.
FEBRUARY 9, 2019 - MAY 6, 2019:
THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MUSEUM AND THE TEXTILE MUSEUM
701 21st Street, NW
JUNE 4, 2019 - OCTOBER 27, 2019:
Le Mémorial de Caen
Esplanade Général Eisenhower
14050 Caen Cedex 4
DECEMBER 15, 2019 - MARCH 22, 2020:
MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON
NORMAN ROCKWELL MUSEUM
9 Glendale Rd / Rte 183
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street)
New York, NY