Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms is 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 from Want, and Freedom from Fear. It illuminates both the historic context in which FDR articulated the Four Freedoms and the role of Rockwell’s paintings in bringing them to life for millions of people, rallying the public behind the War effort and changing the tenor of the times. In telling the story of how Rockwell’s works were transformed from a series of paintings into a national movement, the exhibition also demonstrates the power of illustration to communicate ideas and inspire change.
In addition to his celebrated paintings of the Four Freedoms, the exhibition brings together numerous other examples of painting, illustration, and more, by both Rockwell and a broad range of his contemporaries—from J.C. Leyendecker and Mead Schaeffer, to Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks, among others—as well as historical documents, photographs, videos, and artifacts; interactive digital displays; and immersive settings. While exploring the response of an earlier generation to the plea for defense of universal freedoms, the exhibition also resonates with our own time.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.