logo for best-norman-rockwell-art.com

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell

Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell    

Norman Rockwell Signature

February 20, 1943 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post:
The Four Freedoms Series

Norman Rockwell's Freedom of Speech appeared on the pages of The Saturday Evening Post on February 20, 1943.

This painting was the first installment of Rockwell's famous Four Freedoms series.

The painting was also originally reproduced on a poster promoting the sale of war bonds during World War Two.

Freedom of Speech has also been reproduced in several Rockwell Books:

  • page 119 of The Norman Rockwell Album,
  • illustration 204 of Norman Rockwell's America by Christopher Finch,
  • illustrations 384 and 283 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner,
  • page 143 of Norman Rockwell: Illustrator by Arthur L. Guptill,
  • page 33 of Norman Rockwell, Storyteller With A Brush,
  • page 82 of The Best 0f Norman Rockwell
  • and page 769 and Plate 62 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.

The illustration also appears in The Norman Rockwell Poster Book and 50 Norman Rockwell Favorites.

The painting also appears on page 45 of A Treasury of the Saturday Evening Post. A Treasury of the Saturday Evening Post also reproduces the original Post article by Booth Tarkington that was published with the illustration.

The original oil on canvas painting, 45.75 x 35.5 inches or 116 x 90 cm, is housed in the Norman Rockwell Museum of Stockbridge, Mass. A preliminary a study of this painting is located in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms Paintings

Available as Oil on Canvas:
Oil on Canvas Reproduction

The Four Freedoms paintings were inspired by a speech given before the United States Congress on January 6, 1941 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In that famous and stirring speech, Roosevelt enumerated four basic freedoms to which every person was entitled.

The first was freedom of speech. Second was freedom to worship. Third was freedom from want. Fourth was freedom from fear.

The images and articles were presented in The Saturday Evening Post in the same order as President Roosevelt presented them in his speech.

Norman Rockwell's Freedom of Speech

Giclee Prints on Archival Paper:
At Art.com

For inspiration for Freedom of Speech, Rockwell recalled a recent town meeting in Arlington, Vermont where he lived at that time. He remembered how his neighbor, Arlington resident Jim Edgerton, had stood up during the meeting and aired an unpopular opinion. Instead of objecting to his remarks, his fellow citizens honored Edgerton's right to speak his piece.

Rockwell decided that their respect for Edgerton's unpopular viewpoint perfectly illustrated Roosevelt's idea of Freedom of Speech.

Rockwell painted the characters as strongly contrasting.

The central figure stands above the rest. He is dressed in working clothes that have a slightly rough quality. He has a determined look on his face. In his pocket is a rolled up program for the meeting.

All eyes are on the speaker.

Seated around him are his neighbors. All are holding the same program. The men whose clothes we can see are all dressed in suits. We assume they are businessmen.

Mild disagreement crosses the face of the man on his right. He is smiling upside down. His program is clenched in his hand.

Yet no one interrupts the speaker.

Rockwell aptly captures the essential character of free speech with this painting.

This picture was also printed on Office of War Information poster OWI Poster Number 44 O-510257.

The captions on the original war poster read as follows: "Save Freedom of Speech" above and "Buy War Bonds" underneath the illustration.

The February 20, 1943 Saturday Evening Post illustration by Norman Rockwell entitled Freedom of Speech

Buy it now at Art.com

Norman Rockwell's Freedom of Speech (1943)
(Image Only) Copyright © 1943 Saturday Evening Post & Curtis Publishing Company

Remember to check back often.

Do You Have A Great Story, Opinion Or Contribution About This Painting?

Do you have a personal story about this painting? Do you know the model personally? Do you have a different take on the commentary?

Please share!

Read What Other Commenters Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Rockwell's Neighbors Not rated yet
The model for the Freedom of Speech is Carl Hess, my Father. He ran a small gas station a quarter of mile from Norman Rockwell's house. Rockwell was …

Click here to write your own.

Norman Rockwell Quotes:

I'll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I'd like to.

No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He's got to put all his talent and feeling into them!

Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I've always called myself an illustrator. I'm not sure what the difference is. All I know is that whatever type of work I do, I try to give it my very best. Art has been my life.

Right from the beginning, I always strived to capture everything I saw as completely as possible.

The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.

I can take a lot of pats on the back. I love it when I get admiring letters from people. And, of course, I'd love it if the critics would notice me, too.

You must first spend some time getting your model to relax. Then you'll get a natural expression.

More at BrainyQuote.

Rockwell Favorites

Doctor and the Doll
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
Doctor and the Doll
Santa at His Desk
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
Santa at His Desk
Before the Shot
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
Before the Shot
Game Called Because of Rain
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
Game Called Because of Rain (Three Umpires)
Freedom of Speech
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
Freedom of Speech
Freedom from Want
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
Freedom from Want
No Swimming
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
No Swimming
The Runaway
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
The Runaway
Girl at the Mirror
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
Girl at the Mirror
Tattoo Artist
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
Tattoo Artist
Puppy Love
Buy it from Art.com - Click to Buy
Puppy Love
(Little Spooners)

Norman Rockwell Christmas and Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Galleries are open.

Norman Rockwell's painting, A Drum for Tommy or Santa with Drum, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman on 12/17/1921
Norman Rockwell Santa Claus
Gallery is open!

Copyright © Best Norman Rockwell Art.com.
Images are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders.
Graphic Files Protected by Digimarc.
Contact us for details about using our articles on your website.
The only requirements are an acknowledgement and a link.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Home | Donate | About | Contact | FAQ | Share | Search | Survey | Wanted
Sitemap | Sitemap, 2 | Sitemap, 3 | Sitemap, 4 | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer
My Business "Secret Weapon"