In the 1940s, Franklin D. Roosevelt developed a concept called the Four Freedoms—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear to persuade Americans to support the war effort. Not immediately embraced by the American public, the administration turned to the arts to help Americans understand and rally behind these enduring ideals. Artists, writers, actors, designers, and musicians were encouraged to take on the challenge of advancing the Four Freedoms as the U.S. prepared to enter World War II, moving away from its policy of neutrality.

Norman Rockwell, a renowned illustrator, was among those who took on the challenge to communicate visually the notions of freedom in support of the war efforts. The results were depictions of everyday community and domestic life through universally beloved subjects that helped Americans rally for the defense of public freedom.

Focusing on critical themes that made Rockwell stand out from his contemporaries, Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom presents how the artist and his contemporary illustrators became important storytellers who advanced important civic ideas through their creative advertising and imagery.

The exhibition narrative showcases Rockwell’s war-era artworks that reinforced the positive approach of bringing Americans together for the common good.

The exhibition is organized and curated by the Norman Rockwell Museum and curated locally by Timothy Standring, Gates Family Foundation Curator at the Denver Art Museum.