Norman Rockwell’s Conflicted America

Publisher: 
Village Voice
Date: 
July 5, 2018
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler rose to the leadership of their countries within weeks of each other, in March 1933, during the heart of the Great Depression. Hitler portrayed minorities as sinister parasites and employed bellicose nationalism to scare and bully Germans into obedience to his dictatorship. He prepared his people for genocidal war with his biography cum racist tract Mein Kampf, which included such brutal sentiments as, “All who are not of good race in this world are chaff.” Roosevelt, in stark contrast, laid out a simple tenet in his first inaugural address to the American people: “This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” As the New York Historical Society’s exhibition Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms amply demonstrates, this was also an age when large-format color magazine pages offered illustrators huge canvases upon which to tug heartstrings and/or sell soap. Read more…
Creative: Tronvig Group