Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Different View Of Rockwell

If we could only go back to "the good old days". Perhaps an overly romantic view of America keeps us from seeing the struggles that humanity has always faced in seeking to live justly. A lot of people seem to long for a more simplistic time, an idealistic era they believe used to exist.

Most of us have seen many Norman Rockwell paintings, but this may be the first time you have ever seen these Rockwell paintings. One of a little girl being protected as she attempts to go to school, the "n"word scrawled on the wall behind her. This was a chapter in our history where it was perfectly acceptable to intimidate and assault an eight year old girl because of the color of her skin.
Rockwell’s painting "The Problem We All Live", depicts Ruby Bridges, the little girl who integrated the New Orleans school system in 1960, being escorted to her class by four federal marshals in the face of hostile crowds. Norman Rockwell received many letters of criticism in his choice of subject, but this did not stop him.

An even greater departure for Rockwell’s was his "Southern Justice", painted in 1963. It depicts the deaths of three Civil Rights workers who were killed for their efforts to register African American voters, and is a horrifying vision of racism.
Rockwell is often seen as a painter of American myth, but these show a sensibility and concern about the problems of living up to our American ideas.


Pieceful Afternoon said...

We've been aware of these pictures for some time - the good and the "bad" side of us. Our aunt saw the pictures in person - she said they are all the more striking because his paintings are done life-size. She said you feel like you are about to step right into the paintings.

Mya said...

Wow I didn't know that Rockwell painted like that. Thank you for sharing. You always have such intersting things to share.

Krissy said...

very interesting! I have a vintage rockwell book and this was covered in it, but i had to go back and look into it!

Mary Smith said...

I have seen the Ruby Bridges painting, but not the last one. Quite powerful messages and quite an artist.

Janet Hill said...

I remember those pictures from an art history class that I had taken, but somehow I forgot that Rockwell had done them as they seem like such a departure from his other work. Good for him.

m e g said...

Hi Sabina - I've been trying to catch up on all my favorite blogs and this morning finally caught up on all your recent posts!

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your view of the Norman Rockwell we don't know as well. These paintings really touched me. He was truly a great man as well as a gifted painter.


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