norman rockwell

museum presents

enduring ideals art exhibition

buy tickets

the four freedoms

Inspired by Roosevelt’s speech titled, The Four Freedoms, Norman Rockwell expressed the strength of this message by creating his own series of paintings. Rockwell spent months perfecting each of the four masterpieces which would be published in the Saturday Evening Post. The publication generated such a positive response during the turmoil of WWII that the US Treasury Department launched The Four Freedoms War Bond Show, an exhibition tour dedicated to these paintings.

No. 1

freedom of
speech

Freedom of Speech was published in the February 20, 1943 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post with a matching essay by Booth Tarkington as part of the Four Freedoms series. Rockwell felt that this and Freedom of Worship were the most successful of the set. Since Rockwell liked to depict life as he experienced it or envisioned it, it is not surprising that this image depicts an actual occurrence.

freedom of speech painting displays a man standing up in a courtroom
No. 2

freedom of
worship

Freedom from Fear is the last of the series of four oil paintings. The Four Freedoms theme was eventually incorporated into the Atlantic Charter,and it became part of the charter of the United Nations. The series of paintings were printed in The Saturday Evening Post, accompanied by essays from noted writers, on four consecutive weeks in early 1943. Eventually, the series was widely distributed in poster form and became instrumental in the U.S. Government's Second War Bond Drive.

freedom of speech painting displays a man standing up in a courtroom
No. 3

freedom
from fear

Freedom of Worship is the second of a series of four oil paintings. Rockwell made various attempts to end up with this version of the painting. Former versions showed a number of customers in a barbershop, all with another religious and racial background. He found it to be difficult to make clear images that showed how a person of a certain religion looks like. He finally chose a neutral location where people of different race worship in their own religion.

freedom of speech painting displays a man standing up in a courtroom
No. 4

freedom
from want

This painting was made public in The Saturday Evening Post of March 6, 1943, along with an essay of Carlos Bulosan. The painting shows a classical American family at Thanksgiving when a turkey is served during a meal. Rockwell wanted to portray a family within a theme of continuity, virtue, homeliness and abundance without extravagance, as confirmed by water as the modest beverage choice. Outside the United States though, the images was explained as an expression of American overabundance.

freedom of speech painting displays a man standing up in a courtroom
back to top
an image of a hand holding a gift with a bow

give a gift

Your contribution today to the Norman Rockwell Museum makes the art on the walls, the programs in the classrooms, and the digital outreach around the world happen. It makes memories. Share the joy Norman Rockwell’s work brings, and bring a life-changing experience to someone you love. We thank you for your support.

Donation Information
$30
$50
$100
$