The American Spirit: Norman Rockwell’s Artworks Continue National Tour at Newark Museum

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American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell will be on view at the Newark Museum February 28 through May 26, 2014.

Triple Self-Portrait Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, February 13, 1960 ©1960: SEPS Norman Rockwell Museum Collection

An important exhibition that explores Norman Rockwell’s unparalleled role as an American icon-maker and storyteller will be on view at the Newark Museum from February 28 through May 26, 2014. The exhibition American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell is organized by Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) painted the best of America, creating indelible images of the lives, hopes and dreams of Americans in the 20th century. Expertly weaving both narrative and painterly images, he was a consummate visual storyteller with a finely honed sense of what made an image successful in the new, rapidly changing era of mass media. Rockwell’s unique artistic legacy, established during 65 years of painting, offers a personal chronicle of 20th century life and aspirations that has both reflected and profoundly influenced American perceptions and ideals.

All of the original works on view in American Chronicles are drawn from the permanent collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum, including such beloved and well-known images as “Triple Self-Portrait” (1960), “Girl at Mirror” (1954), “Going and Coming” (1947), and “Art Critic” (1955). The exhibition will include materials from the Norman Rockwell Museum’s archives demonstrating how Rockwell worked, proceeding from preliminary sketches, photographs, color studies and detailed drawings to the finished painting.

American Chronicles has been made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Masterpieces Program. Publication support has been provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Media sponsorship has been provided by the Curtis Publishing Company and by the Norman Rockwell Family Agency. Conservation support has been provided by the Stockman Family Foundation.

The Newark Museum presentation of this exhibition is made possible by Bank of America. This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendation in this exhibition, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

Major support provided by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation with additional support by an anonymous donor, Arlene and Len Lieberman, Lipper Advisory Services and the Newark Museum Volunteer Organization. New York based public radio station WNYC is a media partner of the Newark Museum for its presentation of American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell.

“The Newark Museum is a cornerstone of New Jersey’s cultural identity and an important economic driver,” said Bob Doherty, New Jersey president, Bank of America. “Access to art is essential to the strength of our communities, and this exhibit will bring a celebration of American imagery to individuals and families both here in Newark and throughout the state.”

Five Themes in the Career of an American Icon Maker

American Chronicles traces the evolution of Rockwell’s art and iconography throughout his career from carefully choreographed reflections on childhood innocence in such paintings as “No Swimming” (1921) to powerful, consciousness-raising images like “The Problem We All Live With” (1964), which documented the traumatic realities of desegregation in the South. Commentary focusing on recurring personal themes, artistic and cultural influences, and the commercial climate that influenced Rockwell’s creative process will be woven throughout the exhibition.

The exhibition is divided into five thematic groups to demonstrate how Rockwell’s images provided Americans with a vocabulary for describing and celebrating themselves, their country and their experiences in the 20th century. Themes explored in the exhibition include: American Roots; Reflecting and Shaping American Character; Idealism, Attitude and the American Dream; Shaping the American Aesthetic; and The Artist’s Process, which offers insight into the development of “Murder in Mississippi” (1965), Rockwell’s haunting depiction of a civil rights tragedy in the South, from first idea to finished painting and published work. The exhibition will bring visitors into Rockwell’s creative process, tracing the artist’s complex, time-consuming working method, from original concept to the final painting and the published image. A complete set of all 323 of Rockwell’s covers for The Saturday Evening Post are also included in the exhibition. Rockwell’s work for the Post spanned a remarkable 47 years and the artist became a household name in the process.

The exhibition venues also include: Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee— November 1, 2013 through February 9, 2014; Fondazione Roma-Arte-Musei, Rome, Italy— November 10, 2014 through February 8, 2015; and Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Provo, Utah, November 19, 2015 through February 13, 2016.

American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell has been generously supported by an American Masterpieces Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Curtis Publishing Company, the Norman Rockwell Family Agency, and the Stockman Family Foundation Trust.

Major Publication Accompanies Tour

A fully illustrated, 272-page accompanying exhibition catalog published by the Norman Rockwell Museum provides an unprecedented written perspective on Rockwell’s work. The volume offers an unusually broad approach to the artist’s life and work, using visual analysis, cultural history and mass media studies to look critically at Rockwell’s role in influencing American perceptions of the 20th century. The catalog features high-quality color plates, as well as reproductions of archival photographs.

For this exhibition, admission: Adults $15; Children, Veterans, Seniors & Students with valid I.D. $10; Newark residents $5; and Members are free. An exhibition audio tour is included. Complimentary shuttle service (beginning March 1) will be provide on Saturdays and Sundays, noon-5 pm (every 20 minutes) from Newark Penn Station and Broad Street Station, courtesy of Prudential.

Stay informed as new exhibition information emerges by following the Museum on Facebook at facebook.com/newark.museum or Twitter at twitter.com/newarkmuseum; or by visiting http://www.newarkmuseum.org.

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ABOUT THE NEWARK MUSEUM

The Newark Museum is located at 49 Washington Street in the Downtown/Arts District of Newark, New Jersey, just 3 blocks from NJPAC and 10 miles west of New York City. The Museum is open all year round: Wednesdays through Sundays, from Noon – 5:00 p.m. Suggested Museum admission: Adults, $12.00; Children, Seniors and Students with valid I.D., $7.00. Newark Residents and Members are admitted free. The Museum Café is open for lunches Wednesday through Sunday. Convenient parking is available for a fee. The Newark Museum campus, including its collections, facilities, and other resources, is accessible to accommodate the broadest audience possible, including individuals utilizing wheelchairs, with physical impairments, other disabilities, or special needs. For general information, call 973-596-6550 or visit our web site, http://www.NewarkMuseum.org.

Newark Museum, a not-for-profit museum of art, science and education, receives operating support from the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey, the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State — a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the Prudential Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Victoria Foundation, the Wallace Foundation and other corporations, foundations and individuals. Funds for acquisitions and activities other than operations are provided by members and other contributors.

The Newark Museum is just a few steps from the new NJTransit Light Rail Washington Park Station. Direct connection with the Light Rail at the Broad Street Station and through Penn Station makes the Museum a convenient ride from all points in the region.

ABOUT NORMAN ROCKWELL MUSEUM

Norman Rockwell Museum holds the largest and most significant collection of art and archival materials relating to the life and work of Norman Rockwell. The Museum also preserves, interprets, and exhibits a growing collection of original illustration art by noted American illustrators, from historical to contemporary. The Norman Rockwell Museum Art Collection and Norman Rockwell Archive inspire a vibrant year-round exhibition program, national traveling exhibitions, and arts and humanities programs that engage diverse audiences. The Museum’s collections, which are made accessible worldwide, are a comprehensive resource relating to Norman Rockwell and the art of illustration, the role of published imagery in society, and the American twentieth century.

Since its inception, the Norman Rockwell Museum has explored the impact of illustrated images and their role in shaping and reflecting our world through changing exhibitions, publications, and programs. Dedication to a deepened understanding of the art of illustration has led to the formation of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies. The first of its kind in the nation, this research institute supports sustained scholarship and establishes the Norman Rockwell Museum's leadership in the vanguard of preservation and interpretation relating to this important aspect of American visual culture.

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Lisa Batitto
Newark Museum
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