Facing Hard Realities - Norman Rockwell’s hope for a compassionate society
This is a photograph of an initial oil on canvas color study done by Norman Rockwell. In this study, we see the little girl (Ruby Bridges) toward the right side of the painting. Rockwell would later move the girl to the left side of the page. The reason the girl is not in the center of the page is because the painting would appear in the magazine as a two-page spread. The center of the image would be relegated to the "gutter" where the two pages are seamed together.
In this study, we see the little girl (Ruby Bridges) toward the left side of the painting. In an earlier color study, Rockwell had the little girl on the right side of the page. Rockwell moved her there to illustrate the girl's eagerness to go to school. The reason the girl is not in the center of the page is because the painting would appear in the magazine as a two-page spread. The center of the image would be relegated to the "gutter" where the two pages are seamed together.
Deputy Price and his stick-wielding posse were removed and represented only by menacing shadows in this quick color sketch, the left half of the original painting. Rockwell received the go-ahead to proceed with his final painting based on this sketch but "Look" art director Allen Hurlburt, after receiving the final, chose to publish the sketch.
This photograph is of a charcoal sketch Rockwell made for the painting "Murder in Mississippi (Southern Justice)." In the top right corner, you can see a newspaper clipping showing the portraits of the three murdered men. Rockwell used these portraits to give some degree of authenticity to his image but never explicitly tried for exact replication of their visage.
This special exhibition for Google Cultural Institute was produced by the Norman Rockwell Museum with permission from the Norman Rockwell Family Agency.
For more information, visit: www.nrm.org
Paintings, photographs, and archival documents were sourced from the Norman Rockwell Museum Collection in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Special thanks go to the following Norman Rockwell Museum staff:
Laurie Norton Moffatt - Director/CEO
Stephanie Plunkett - Chief Curator/Deputy Director
Margit Hotchkiss - Deputy Director for Audience and Business Development
Rich Bradway - Director of Digital Learning and Engagement
Tom Daly - Curator of Education
Venus Van Ness - Archivist
Barbara Rundback - Digital Experience Coordinator
Thomas Mesquita - Registrar
Jeremy Clowe - Manager of Media Services
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