tv American Artifacts Rockwell Roosevelt the Four Freedoms Exhibit CSPAN September 15, 2019 6:00pm-6:51pm EDT
but he also was in the midst of it. i mean, london was the political center. he was writing and his company was performing before the crown. and many in his audience were going to the plays to get a sense of how to appreciate current events. a lot of it is there. the ideology is difficult to understand, but the lessons about leadership, i think, are clear. thank you. thanks to all of you for coming. [laughter] -- [applause] >> thank you so much. don't forget to take your pink sheets. a back and join us. think you all very much. come back and join us.
thank you all very much. >> i'm john wetenhall. here on the campus of george washington university in the heart of washington, d.c.. norman rockwell's "four freedoms " exhibition is a traveling show, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the norman rockwell museum, the 75th anniversary of d-day, and putting on the wall the images norman rockwell created that -- rockwell painted the created the ideological concepts that president roosevelt in the state of the union address in 1941. this is freedom of speech and expression.
freedom of every person who worships god in his own way everywhere in the world. third is freedom from want, forumated in the world means economic understanding procured through every nation a lifehy peace time everywhere in the world. freedom of fear. experienced leaders in the world a point through such and in such a fashion that no nation would be in a position of
physical aggression against any neighbor anywhere in the world. [applause] >> what people forget today is that the concept of four freedoms did not take immediate halt on the national psyche. ofew artists made images freedoms, there was talk of freedoms, but it didn't capture the imagination in any way that people would be excited about until norman rockwell. thewell's for paintings of -- four paintings of the "four freedoms" made understandable and tangible the value of those thedoms and were, arguably, most prominent and public images , domestic images of world war ii.
the exhibition begins with some early rockwell paintings at the time of the new deal. the depression era. giving a new sense of what america was like prior to world war ii. into theoes straight war years with videos of fdr's "four freedoms" speech, and other artists trying to encapsulate the art and other images of world war ii, following the introduction of fdr's state of the union address in 1941. we look at some of rockwell's early war images. thees that were about common person joining the military and what military life was like. the heart of the exhibition is rockwell trying to wrestle with
-- and then the spread of the images across the united states, first through magazines and then through posters. ultimately leaning towards the end of world war ii. of show culminate with some rockwell's great and lesser-known works that confront civil rights. think, the values of the nation. finally, the rockwell museum organized some 40 artists work done shown, work that was can temporarily today, work by living artists to reflect on the values of four freedoms, or a different context of how we might think of them today. let's begin our tour. you some of to show the earliest images that
rockwell made of world war ii. character, who is actually a 15-year-old boy at the time, too young to enlist. he created a series of images that were a lighthearted look at life in the military. is of his more famous ones willie gillis receiving the care package. he received the box of goodies and made quite a few friends. friends have lined up looking at this package. it became a lighthearted symbol , life military together on the base, training, and this kind of thing. today, sometimes these images subsequentttle bit to their publishing on the post. it's important for us to know
that these images for rockwell were valuable as photographs. the pictures themselves were not museums used for sale or these kind of things as we think about in the art world. there were images to be photographed and he was paid to photograph the image, the cover, and they gave the painting back to him. after they had been published later on, sometimes the image of the paintings themselves would toe been given away or sold others. this one, i'm sure, was sold to someone else. if you look at the background and look at the hands, this is a magnificent painting. reproduce the imagery in a
meticulous manner. his pressure and his reproductive skills were as good as the photographs, sometimes better. theou look back, you see background gets murky, and all of a sudden a great painter has sprayed a sleeve on his image. somebody did it to later when they painted the background and took out the lines from the saturday evening post. there are other images. this one was never published. the young recruit, remember he was too young to them -- too young to endless. looking starry eyed as these hardened citizens are eating, smoking, sitting around, the veterans of war. was too harsh a contrast and
not published in the saturday evening post. really one of the better willie gillis images, one of the more poignant ones. withplace of worship military superiors in front and behind. thinking about what is to come. the painting here was painted by 1944.ll late in as an image of people in small-town america listening to their news, getting their news from the newspaper and the radio in the back. magnificent composition, listening, watching.
we know from a sketch that the newspaper was to have on its says wareadline that plans for france. a potential invasion of france talked about prior to d-day on the radio. the figures here are gathering concern ofhowing the the people at home of the war abroad. not a cover and not submitted to the saturday evening post because rockwell considered it too subtle and too hard for people to understand and read. he made a picture about the radio elsewhere in the exhibition.
this poster is the only image rockwell painted of actual combat taking place. rockwell was uncomfortable of the concept of painting war in action. he did this one showing the bullets being spent. it was a poster to rally the factory workers. the munitions plans to excite the people on the homefront to support the war effort. this was an image meant to show that bullets are needed and this fighting figure still with all the details of rockwell, the realistic imagery and all of very cleverly covers his face. norman rockwell's quest to paint
actually beginms and failure. he came to washington, d.c. and presented them at the office of war information. the leadership at the time rejected the idea and sent him away without a commission to paint roosevelt's four freedoms. he stopped in philadelphia and met with editors of the saturday evening post, who embraced the idea and instructed rockwell to go home, not to work on other features, but to focus on the four freedoms. , itas given four months took him seven to conceive and paint the pictures once he began. on,first painting he worked the one that gave him the inspiration of the series was freedom of speech.
up,ockwell recalls, he woke he was struggling as rockwell always did, struggling to come concept, the idea of how he would embody an abstract idea such as freedom of speech. up one night and recalled a meeting in the town of arlington where he lived at the time, and a debate that took place in arlington about whether or not to rebuild the school that had recently burned down, or whether the children would be bussed to the next district and taxes would be saved. he remembered an incident when his neighbor rose to oppose the idea of building the new school. what he remembered was the rest of the meeting listening respectfully, hearing the point
of view and the gentleman lost town voted tohe enact the tax and to borrow $80,000 to build the new school house. rockwell made a series of studies after. he started sketching and creating images. we have some of his sketches showing rockwell wrestling with the various ways he could articulate this image, this idea of freedom of speech and what he remembers. over a series of images he came with the idea of essentially putting a blackboard in the background, a neutral background so that the speaker would stand tall amongst a group of people who are listening, holding the annual report of the town, the agenda of the meeting, the agenda of the taxes.
uci's and ears emphasized because freedom of speech is about the obligation to listen. rockwell created this image that showed everyone paying respect and proper attention. that is an image of norman rockwell in the far corner, showing his ears and his eyes listening to the speech. freedom of religion is probably the most difficult image rockwell had to create. differentdo people of religions come together in a place of worship? so rockwell created a composition of humanity together. of different faiths praying to a
common god. according to the dictates of his own conscious. want, rockwell painted during thanksgiving. there are two family members, his mother and his wife. the rest are neighbors and the rest rockwell posed to create an american family celebrating thanksgiving. masterwork ace -- a of still life. not the lavish dutch still life you would see. here,e figures gathering much like the saints would be gathered in a renaissance painting on each side, and the centerpiece gathering you together with kind of a divine
light looking in through the windows and beautifully painted draperies that show white against white, against a white tablecloth, against clear andses, showing a clean un-messy table, showing americans coming together to celebrate thanksgiving in good cheer and family unity. a concept worth preserving, worth fighting for. fear, we have a mother and a father tucking in the two children. the newspaper has bombings, probablynd references, the bombings of london, the london blitz of world war ii.
if you look around the edges of this kind of scene of serenity and peace, you work around the , aes and see the doll reference possibly to a body of back,d the light in the to me, references the orange glow of the firebombing. it's one of the more subtle images that shows the images of overseas, references them, and shows the threat to the future generations. the paintings of rockwell were not the images that america saw. you that americans would have come to learn about through's four freedoms images in the saturday evening post. and april, oney of rockwell's images appeared on
writerpage spread by a of their interpretation of freedom of speech or freedom of worsened -- of worship. postaturday evening circulated to millions of people. americans would have seen these images, much like americans today would have seen images on a television, and would have talked about it in their community. some of these essays are quite poignant. the freedom of worship, one of the more difficult abstract pictures in the series, has a by the writersay will durrant. man differs from animal, from the animal into things, he laughs and he prays. the mark of a man as he beats
his head against the riddle of life, knows infinite weakness of body and mind, lift up his heart to a hidden presence and power, and find a beacon of heart rendering hope, a pillar of strength for his fragile decency. the essay is wonderful here. if our sons and brothers accomplish this by their toil and suffering, they can carry to all mankind the boon and stimulus of an ordered liberty. in -- be an achievement the size of which those of alexander and napoleon will be a little thing. they are offering their youth and their blood. regretting we cannot stand beside them, dedicate the remainder of our lives.
americans saw about -- saudis, read about them, and in april 1943 there was a warm bomb dropped. these images, having been rejected initially, became and braced by the federal war bond drive. the images were adopted as the symbols for the second bond drive. the concept was americans would invest, pay money for a bond that wouldn't mature in a number of years. in 10 years the bond would pay back 25. the idea was they needed the nation to all come together quickly to raise the funds from munitions and to equip the nation's soldiers appropriately.
>> hollywood's most famous movie stars leave the film capital to help the government sell war bonds. lamarr,oleman, patty all part of a contingent of 50's screen celebrities giving their talents to aid the national war effort. the four second drive, freedoms were adopted as images of the bond drive. a publicity campaign went to 17 different cities, starting in washington, d.c.. rockwell came to the department store in d.c., and they showed off the posters. they printed in the millions duplicate sets of the four freedoms. a set of four smaller images. the large posters would have
been sent around the country in post offices and schools and elsewhere to rally the nation to buy war bonds. the dissemination of this image in 1943, the spring of 1943 was pervasive. it was seen as the face of the war effort at that time. norman rockwell was trained as an illustrator. he studied in the arts students leagues in new york. learned the basics of painting and drawing the human body. and mastered his craft essentially with the skill of being able to re-create in drawings or in paintings as accurately and realistically as a camera might. rockwell said in his
autobiography that he sometimes looked at the world as a little too messy and not quite as ideal as he would like it to be, therefore he made it more ideal in his paintings. he became extraordinarily well known through his art, first working for the boy scouts, then working for magazines. the great one being the saturday evening post. an artist who appeared on the cover of the post, millions of people would see his art, far more than an artist who was making paintings for a wealthy patron or a museum. artist andry popular chronicled american life from the teens through the 20's, 30's, the 40's, up until the early 1970's.
where this exhibition begins is in the 19 -- early 1930's. there is an image from a saturday evening post cover of returning home from vacation. this is a year after the stock market crashed. times were bad, it was a market downturn. rockwell could look at life in a lighthearted way. this is the vacation from which you need a vacation. the family has returned home exhausted. the hastily packed suitcase, the camera, shoes untied, worn out with signs about a wonderful vacation. something many americans could relate to.
which made the magazine welcoming when the post was delivered. people would see something they would relate to at the time. next to this picture is another painting of a vacation from 1938. exotic of vacations, ports of paris, mountains, yearsons, and now six dashboard,pression unsuccessful, this was the vacation in america in the late 1930's as the ravages of the depression, unemployment were spreading throughout the nation. remember the painting i showed you of the gentleman around the
lunch counter that were listening to the radio. following that painting, rockwell painted this, a gentleman listening to the radio by himself in his home trying to hear the news. more personal image than the gentleman at the lunch counter. look at his hand trying to dial in. you can imagine the static on the radio trying to get the sound clear. on his lap you can see the father with maps of france and england, a map of europe, the with the direction that he understands the military forces to be taking. above him, eisenhower and macarthur.
three stars and three photographs from the navy, the army and the air force. you see the clues around maps and the like. is trying to track the progress his sons would be making on the warfront. and you can see in the map he hind, american flags have been pinned onto the map. we can only presume these are the locations that he believes his sons are fighting and. -- fighting in. the painting was later. away to the editor of the berkshire eagle in western massachusetts. what rockwell did his he repainted the newspaper on the ground as the berkshire eagle ,nd dedicated it to the staff
to his friend and the staff of the berkshire either. would havetance that been photographed, circulated in magazine form, the actual painting residing with the artist, given away to a friend. just at the end come as world war ii ended in thanksgiving 1945, rockwell made this image of the returning soldier for the thanks giving issue of the magazine, sitting on the chair that is a little bit too small for him. shoes, the civilian peeling the potatoes as people remember the like. it was meant to be an image of
something for which to be truly thankful. >> people's images of norman rockwell in the saturday evening post, the americana, even kitsch sometimes, people think about know thedon't always late paintings of his career after he left the post. .n 1961 the post was bought out it was a change in management and rockwell left and no longer standardsform to the and scriptures and expectations of the saturday evening post he could work on images he wanted to do. up with the rival to life magazine. in 1964 he made an image that
has come to be quite famous. it was painted in 1963, reflecting on an incident in 1960. the first little girl who was brought to an all-white school as new orleans was segregated. the 10thion was anniversary of brown versus the board of education, the supreme court case that mandated integration in the schools and declared separate but equal was not sufficient in the united states. it was understood that many communities, the foot dragging, the delays, the lack of care was delaying the integration of these schools.
that in, troubled by the 10th anniversary, looked back, reached back for this and reimagined it based on documents, and created his own image that was starkly different in artistic ways from the images you would have seen in the photograph. the photograph shows the marshals, who would have two recent -- would have to escort ruby bridges. bringing them all in the all-white school -- bringing them into the all-white school -- in this case he has moved the heads of the marshals and only showed them as figures of authority. he has made her elegantly
dressed. commissioned a resident of his town in massachusetts to make a new dress in white for image.el for this notice in her book that she stars -- she wrote stars on the book. in the drawings, and it's a vile background of this picture. the vile graffiti here. it's a horrid image. horrid is seen when protesters and angry mobs were at the side of the roads, screaming at the girl as she was going to school at the time. rockwell was so troubled by
this. he had ruby on this side, and she couldn't be in the middle because it was a two page magazine spread. the crease was in the middle. rockwell decided to move her to the front so that a little girl was leading the marshals, as opposed to the marshals leading the little girl. ruby bridges still has a foundation and is a trustee of the norman rockwell museum. add, wasting, i should also brought to the white house, president obama. bridges come to the white house, and she showed president obama the image. >> if it hadn't been for you
guys i might not have be here. >> just having him say that meant a lot to me. it always has. to be standing shoulder to shoulder with history and viewing history, as just a once-in-a-lifetime. >> 1965, rockwell wanted to theoduce for a magazine gruesome killing of three students who went to mississippi to enroll motors. they were killed by the clansmen. in his drawings, rockwell gore and thee assailants. --his final image he instead instead chose to make them in shadow, so you couldn't see the
real perpetrators of the coin. you saw them as shadows, as ghouls. people in a ubiquitous manner. something that would be too easy to attribute to one or two individuals. this is humanity's people trying to wipe out good. rockwell was very conflicted about the vietnam war. he was troubled by the news he the 1965, 66, 67.
he was commissioned to do some paintings on the marines and decided not to follow through because of his conflict with the war. he came up with this image from 1968 called the right to know. recognizing the people have the obligation and right to understand the purposes for which the nation goes towards. .ou see the chair of authority people of diverse walks of american life. and norman rockwell himself has come to ask. i think and making it plain and not rotating it as something specific as congress with a a moreone has made this right,c, more ubiquitous
rather than incident. the right to know would probably have been something rockwell would have thought about in the way he would freedom. think of rockwell as the typical american family -- as he grew more mature and thoughtful, rockwell created a series of paintings and images bringing together diverse people . in this case a study for the united nations. but surrounded by people from the world. all nations brought together in contemplation, expectation, hope, desire that the diverse peoples of the world could come together.
theme throughout the last years of his life. all agreeing the common theme that doing unto others as you would have do unto you. rockwell celebrated the diversity of people and the diversities of cultures. someone more global citizen then we today remember him as. we have carried that team forward. put out all museum call on artists.
from around the country, selective works by 40 artists to reflect upon rockwell's freedoms. the show ends with these images that people can go by and see modern takes on rockwell. peterson, who lives near the rockwell museum, obviously freedom from fear, except the newspaper has changed to, "i we have other" images of freedom of speech today. information. fake news. news. gathering their
we have seen in the images that have been submitted by the artists much greater diversity of subject. black, white, from diverse cultures, from all creeds, freedom of speech and liberty, and all national values with religious figures from around the world all coming together. an exhibition extremely popular with guests. particularly young people, who sometimes see the freedom of theession as expressed in 1940's as sometimes limiting. thatow understanding freedom in america today is something that is vitally important from -- important than from.erspective one comes
and bestow the respect on others. you can go through this part of the exhibition and see various andes of different peoples certain inhibitors of liberties, such as the intrusiveness of electronics and surveillance. religious figures, the dalai lama, gandhi, all part of the same family. more diverse, more inclusive from the perspective of today's artists and viewers. there are certainly some images of resistance, and a reminder that the nation has fallen short of its ideals.
which will be wrapped in the flag. for the student body, when the galleries are most full, they tend to be here, looking at what contemporary artists are reflecting upon. themselves in these images and identifying themselves amongst the various competing positions of these vital issues today. i found this has been an exhibition that has brought great diversity from all walks of life throughout the washington, d.c. community. most of all students and
graduate students here. i have written a book on the iwo jima monument. i knew rockwell's art, but i knew how skillful he was as an artist. i knew his ability to re-create the visual was extraordinary. most artists alive -- as great as most artists alive or have ever lived, perhaps. when you see him wrestling with the serious issues of freedom, when he had to get away from the softer side of american life as seen in family magazine and
saturday evening post, instead look at the struggles of the nation and the perils of the world, he became much more was an artist of much more depth and thought then i thought. rockwell was a person of profound thought living up to its values and found that sometimes the nation fell short. he had the courage to look at segregation and housing. of also hope that religions the world coming together. whoe was an artist reflected with some thoughtfulness the american condition. a lot of times people talk about
-- anot just being in it image but a mirror. mirror on the american psyche. >> rockwell, roosevelt and the four freedoms is a traveling exhibit with stops in houston, and september 2020 to january 2020 one in the norman rockwell museum in massachusetts. you can watch this and other american history tv programs on c-span.org/history. >> campaign 2020. watch our live coverage of presidential candidates on the campaign trail and make up your own mind.
c-span's campaign 2020. your unfiltered view of politics. his new book talking to strangers, author malcolm gladwell details why he thinks people make an accurate judgments about people they don't know. >> you can step now. i am going to drag you out of here. >> you are going to drag me out of my own car. >> she was in prison for resisting arrest. two days later she hangs herself and herself. a tragic and unexpected result. that exchange that we saw. when i first saw that online i realize that's what i wanted to write about.
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and whether big tech companies need more regulation. >> google is a california-based company. i think we want to look at how it is doing its business practices, it is important to do that in a very thoughtful way. i know the department of justice are also talking about doing investigations and competitive practices. it's good to investigate it and make sure the companies are behaving. i'm not sure breaking companies up is a good idea. a lot of tentacles, a lot of employees. there are going to be unintended consequences. >> on c-span two. snacks, from the kansas city public library, university of north dakota history
professor talks about her book, constructing cultural memory. she highlights some of the --tutes of pioneer mom pioneer mothers in the kansas city area. >> welcome everyone, thank you for being here. i manager of the missouri valley special collection. our research room was headquartered across the hall. otherll find journals and research materials document and kansas city's early histories the frontier town, and out better for traveler setting out on the santa fe trail. it was november 12, 1927 when the sculpture was dedicated. it not only celebte