5 important works from the Norman Rockwell Museum

"The Peace Corps (JFK's Bold Legacy)" (1966) by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA

Best known for his sentimental paintings of modern America, Norman Rockwell has more recently been recognised for his contributions to the country’s political and social discourse.

"The Problem We All Live With" (1963) by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA

One of the most famous images of the US civil rights era, Rockwell’s painting of Ruby Bridges being escorted by US marshals confronted American citizens with the reality of racism and inequality. It sparked fury and praise, and forever cemented Rockwell’s reputation as a political artist.

"New Kids in the Neighborhood" (1967) by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA

Despite the reality of the struggle of the 1960's, Rockwell was secure in expressing his philosophy of tolerance.  In his illustration of suburban integration in Chicago’s Park Forest community, we can see the children will soon be playing with each other, but the face peering from behind a window curtain makes us wonder how the adults will fare. 

"Murder in Mississippi (Southern Justice)" (1965) by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA

This haunting image shows the murder of a black man by the Ku Klux Klan. From a sentimental painter, Rockwell had evolved by the end of his career to become one of the loudest and most outspoken white artists challenging racism in America.

The Right to Know (1968-08-20) by Norman RockwellNorman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA

As with many Americans in the mid 1960s, the Vietnam War was on Norman Rockwell's mind.  In this illustration, Rockwell presents a group of people of many races, ages, and political persuasions. Norman Rockwell who was 74 years old when he painted this work, felt so strongly about this painting that he had included himself in the work on the far right side with his signature pipe in his mouth.

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