UTICA, NY—Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute will present the landmark exhibition Norman Rockwell, June 11 through September 18, featuring iconic images of American scenes painted by the most beloved artist and illustrator of the 20th century.
Over the course of his six-decade career, Norman Rockwell illustrated the everyday moments in America, featuring diverse races, nationalities, economic backgrounds, and creeds. Through two world wars, the Great Depression, the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the Civil Rights struggles, Rockwell promoted an optimistic world in the face of hardship and struggle. This exhibition will present Rockwell’s story-filled scenes of American life as well as the people behind the images—from presidents to postmen.
With more than 50 original artworks including full-scale oil paintings, photographs, drawings, and archival magazines and tear-sheets, Norman Rockwell will unlock the mystery of how the artist’s most significant commissions developed from start to finish. Rockwell’s particular style of artistic journalism will resonate throughout the exhibition, giving visitors an exclusive perspective on historical events that shaped American life during much of the 20th century. Included in the exhibition will be all 323 Saturday Evening Post covers that Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) illustrated over 47 years, from 1916 to 1963.
Rockwell’s paintings were reproduced continually on magazine covers from the 1920s to the 1960s, and their appeal was immense. Time magazine called Rockwell “probably the best-loved U.S. artist alive,” while the New York Times compared his paintings to Mark Twain’s novels. His later paintings from the 1960s and ’70s promoted civil rights and equality for all, and even his seemingly whimsical compositions often addressed shifting gender roles, class divides, democratic values, and the embrace of all ethnicities and religions.
With themes relevant to today, Norman Rockwell will enable visitors to rediscover historical events of the 20th century—from a nostalgic 1918 illustration of boys fishing, through World War II and the legendary Four Freedoms series to New Kids in the Neighborhood, a powerful Rockwell artwork addressing Civil Rights and desegregation. Also included will be memorable portrayals of the 20th century’s most noted and notorious political figures, including Robert Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon alongside images of refugees and coal miners.
Through partnerships and collaborations with community groups throughout the Central New York region, programming and outreach for Norman Rockwell will include events that are of interest to diverse communities. The Museum’s African American Community Partners, an advisory panel drawn from the greater Utica community, will provide insight on programming and interpretation.
Norman Rockwell has been organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The exhibition is sponsored by Christian and Cheryl Heilmann, Elizabeth R. Lemieux, Ph.D., The Family of F. X. Matt II, Joseph A. Abraham, The John and Cynthia DeTraglia Fund of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, P. J. Green, Inc., Dr. W. Anthony and Carol B. Mandour, Nye and Company Auctioneers / Appraisers, and the Hon. Joan E. Shkane (ret.)
Media sponsorship has been provided by Curtis Licensing, a division of The Saturday Evening Post.
Additional support provided by a Market New York grant from I LOVE NY/ New York State’s Division of Tourism through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute creates transformational arts experiences that cultivate curiosity and creativity, enlighten, educate, and inspire. The Institute aims to promote interest and participation in the arts and stimulate artistic self-expression and personal creativity. MWPAI continues to assume a leadership and advocacy role for the arts in Utica, NY. With 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, concerts, community classes, and the PrattMWP College of Art and Design, Munson-Williams is the cultural heart of Central New York.
It is the vision of Munson-Williams to be a vibrant and welcoming cultural resource for the community by offering meaningful educational and entertaining experiences that foster substantial connections within the community and enhance the quality of life in our region.
Munson-Williams is located at 310 Genesee Street, Utica, NY. 13502, 315-797-0000, mwpai.org.