Inthe pickers met with dealer Art Finkel, who specializes in vintage posters and lithographs. With him, they looked at World War II posters by the American illustrator Norman Rockwell. The pickers struggled with naming the two freedoms that, in addition to "Freedom from Fear" and "Freedom from Want," make up Rockwell's iconic "Four Freedoms" series. Though perhaps best known for the idyllic scenes of American life that frequented the covers of The Saturday Evening Post, Norman Rockwell made notable contributions to the war effort with works like the "Four Freedoms" and "Rosie the Riveter."
Inspiration for the "Four Freedoms" came from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's State of the Union address, delivered before Congress on January 6, 1941. In the address, which later came to be known as the "Four Freedoms Speech," President Roosevelt identified four freedoms that must be protected through the war effort:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.
In 1942, Rockwell created four paintings, each one representing a freedom, and they were published in The Saturday Evening Post. A favorable public response led to the Office of War Information publishing posters of the paintings, as part of a war bonds campaign. The 1943 campaign proved highly successful in raising funds to support the war effort.
Although hundreds of thousands of "Four Freedoms" posters were printed, their iconic nature gives them a continued value among poster collectors. In 2011,to the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW event in Eugene, Oregon that was valued at $4,000 to $6,000.
Shortly before his passing, Norman Rockwell bequeathed his collection, including the "Four Freedoms," to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where the paintings are available for public viewing.
For more on Norman Rockwell, the "Four Freedoms," and patriotic posters:
of President Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms Speech"
of patriotic posters
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Written by MARKET WARRIORS production assistant Ayelet Ronen.