Smithsonian’s newest exhibition
showcases 57 major Norman Rockwell paintings and drawings—34 from Lucas’ collection and 23 from Spielberg’s—at
theSmithsonian’s American Art
Museum is the only venue approved for
this Rockwell exhibition, covering years
(1916 to 1978).
Our favorite filmmakers have created
another summer hit; however, this time
by combining their art collections rather
than sharing their creative skills in story writing and directing skills—as in
American Graffiti and Indiana Jones.
Their individual collections reveal a lot
more about exactly who they really are
at their core—from those visual stories
that spoke to them on an emotional
level–they are truly decent people from
Norman Percevel Rockwell was born, February 3, 1894, NYC (upper west-side) to Jarvis Waring Rockwell and Anne Mary “Nancy” (Hill) Rockwell. Jarvis Waring Rockwell, Jr. a year and half older than Norman P. Rockwell.
The chief curator, Virginia Mecklenburg, named Barbara Guggenheim, an art dealer in LA, as
the facilitator for this exhibit and Spielberg agreed, ’You know, it would be fun to get these
collections together.’ At any rate, “Guggenheim then spoke with the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum’s Director, Betsy Broun, and the idea—evolved.”
“The Connoisseur” © Steven Spielburg Collection
In the 50s era—Abstract Expressionism,
Beat poetry and hard bop jazz— devalued commercial art in favor of all improvisation
with the raw, unmediated gesture. Rockwell
was criticized for selling an artificial and
squeaky-clean view of America, and he
replied to that criticism through a painting
called “The Connoisseur,” of Pollack drip painting method of a non-objective color abstraction; however, for Pollack, it was
merely a journey of discovery of possibilities
in color composition—not out of rebellion
or anger as one critic recently wrote.
Obviously, Rockwell began to question his
own work … but the Ashcan artist in our
early art history, who painted ordinary people
in everyday American settings of their time
and place—very similar to Rockwell’s
portrayal. Those realistic rather than
romantic painters were criticized for putting
our dirty laundry out there for the entire world to see.
Tracing these beloved filmmakers’ infatuation of Rockwell back to their childhoods, George Lucas
and Steven Spielberg were both captured and drawn into those stories—stirring old memories
from their personal experiences—living on the covers of their Saturday Evening Posts.
“Shadow Artist” © George Lucus Collection
Norman Rockwell’s illustrations captured much more than a mere story, but revealed to us the
actual people who lived almost a century ago. Rockwell’s paintings enables us to be voyeurs
into the daily lives of regular citizens, and
neighbors of his time and to discover that we
still share those same American personality traits.
We as a people still believe in fair play, share a whimsical sense of humor, but still through our kindness and generosity, we help each other out
if needed. Most importantly, we celebrate who we are individually and as a nation. How appropriate to open his show on the Independence Day week-end.
For more info:
Exhibitions at the American Art Museum