Saturday Evening Post cover February 13, 1961.
Humor and humility were essential aspects of Norman Rockwell's character, so when asked to do a self-portrait that would announce the first of eight excerpts of his autobiography, the results were lighthearted and somewhat self-deprecating. The painting provides the essential elements not of his life as an illustrator, but of the specific commission. Rockwell's life is far too eventful and complex to begin to approach summation in a single work so he limits the composition to himself, his artists' materials, his references, a canvas on an easel, and a mirror.
The New-York Historical Society exhibition, Rockwell, Roosevelt, & the Four Freedoms is the inspiration for the NYHistory Store's merchandise. The traveling exhibition, which was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, explores how Rockwell’s 1943 paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want—gave visual voice to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s call to the defense of freedom worldwide and took their place among the most enduring images in the history of American art. On view through September 2, 2018.