Rockwell’s Four Freedoms Make Normandy Landing (in Pulverized Caen)

Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms opened at the New York Historical Society on May 25, 2018, and moved on to George Washington University and the Ford Museum following. Just after the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the exhibition, organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, opens in Caen on June 10. Caen is the fourth of six venues, with Houston and Denver yet to come—followed by a homecoming in the fall of 2020 at Stockbridge, MA, location of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

The exhibition was curated by James Kimble of Seton Hall University and Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Rockwell.

D.B. Dowd wrote “Everyman, Meet Somebody: Characterization and Melodrama in Rockwell’s Four Freedoms,” an essay for the Enduring Ideals catalogue. The essay is accessible here. Among other matters, “Everyman” questions Rockwell’s squeamishness about threats and villains; fear is elided in a painting about its absence.

Norman Rockwell, Freedom From Fear, 1943. This painting and its mates are on display in Caen, which was pulverized by Allied bombardment in 1944. The destruction of Caen complicates heroic narratives of the Battle of Normandy.

Doug DowdComment