57 Norman Rockwells, Courtesy of Speilberg & Lucas
I never really cottoned to Norman Rockwell’s ruddy-cheeked vision of America. Too cute, too idealized, too sentimental. I’ve heard it said that a dark heart often beats underneath the works but, be that as it may, I’m still not terribly interested. I suppose I’m cynical. In any case, it would seem that Rockwell and his oeuvre have had a heretofore-unbeknownst-to-me influence on directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. They’re both enthusiastic collectors, enough so, it turns out, to furnish their own exhibition of the beloved illustrator’s work at the Smithsonian.
According to the Smithsonian’s press release, “Telling Stories is the first major exhibition to explore in-depth the connections between Rockwell’s iconic images of American life and the movies.” The exhibition will showcase fifty-seven major Rockwell paintings and drawings from the private collections of Misters Spielberg and Lucas. Thinking back, their identification with Rockwell’s epitomizing of Americana makes sense, especially in Spielberg’s case, who’s attitude toward family and patriotism (in his films, at any rate) might have been lifted straight off the cover of Boys’ Life or The Saturday Evening Post.