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Obama’s Rockwell

“Celebrate America—Past, Present, and Future.” That’s the tagline of our country’s oldest magazine. The Saturday Evening Post’s legendary archives date back to 1821, but the magazine is better known for its ever-popular cover art and inside illustrations. Artists range from the iconic Norman Rockwell to the lesser-known Western depictions of W.H.D. Koerner.

It’s only fitting, then, that when it comes to selecting art that both reflects our nation’s values and presidents’ personal tastes, the highly revered paintings from The Saturday Evening Post are an appropriate fit, with images that speak to the everyday American spirit.

From his governor’s office in Texas, former President George W. Bush brought to the Oval Office a favorite painting of his: a Western scene called <em>A Charge to Keep</em> by W.H.D Koerner. The illustration first appeared in <em>The Saturday Evening Post</em> in 1916 to depict a short story called “The Slipper Tongue.”

From his governor’s office in Texas, former President George W. Bush brought to the Oval Office a favorite painting of his: a Western scene called A Charge to Keep by W.H.D Koerner. The illustration first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1916 to depict a short story called “The Slipper Tongue.”

From his governor’s office in Texas, former President George W. Bush brought to the Oval Office a favorite painting of his: a Western scene called A Charge to Keep by W.H.D Koerner. The illustration first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1916 to depict a short story called “The Slipper Tongue.”

With A Charge to Keep back home in Texas, the Obamas, along with their appointed interior designer Michael Smith, gave the Oval Office a subtle makeover, replacing the cowboyesque décor (with the exception of artist Frederic Remington’s sculpture The Bronco Buster) with a more traditional touch, while embracing such classics as the Norman Rockwell painting, the iconic Working on the Statue of Liberty, which appeared on the cover of the Post in July 1946.

Working on the Statue of Liberty by Norman Rockwell hangs only feet away from President Obamas desk in the Oval Office.

Seen here as a Post cover, Working on the Statue of Liberty, Norman Rockwell, July 6, 1946, now hangs only feet away from President Obama's desk in the Oval Office.

The original work of art was previously owned by famed film director Steven Spielberg—an avid Rockwell collector. In 1994 Spielberg donated the painting to the White House where it has proudly hung for Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, according to Jeremy Clowe, manager of media services for the Norman Rockwell Museum. “An additional series of Rockwell works—appropriately titled So You Want to See The President (The Saturday Evening Post story illustration, November 13, 1943)—are also on loan to the White House, and on view in the building’s West Wing,” says Clowe.

The history of the Post is deeply rooted in American culture and will not only continue to find a home in the heart of America, but in the hearts of Americans. Today’s Post readers turn to the magazine for a dose of artistic nostalgia, an update on current cultural trends, and a forecast for medical breakthroughs and emerging technology of days to come, as the Post continues to “Celebrate America—Past, Present, and Future.”

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  • roxanna t

    i have two of the painting on canvas that i found in a thrift store. one is signed doctor and doll the other is doctor mixing medicine for child it has no1 and no21 and is also signed it also has stamp of gallery where they came from and i really enjoy them.

  • J Thornton

    At a time when the American dream has turned into a distant dream deferred it is still good that the President keeps the picture in the Oval office and is reminded of the symbol that met thousands upon their arrival to this country. The Statute symbolizes the Hope that is America, the opportunity that is America and the Optimism that is America. Thank you Bradley for reminding me to never lose sight of the dream that is America. All aboard!!!

  • Aaron Wooten

    M Bradley, what on God’s green earth are you ranting about? Have you gone mad? If you can’t be specific about what you’re trying to argue then you shouldn’t put anything at all.

    Secondly, I think the fact that there is not only a Norman Rockwell painting but a very symbolic one in the Oval Office is a beautiful thing. It is perfect not only to signify recession and hard times, but also for bringing back an idealistic and nostalgic hope that I think all Americans are searching for. As an artist I think the best time for a resurgence of Rockwell is now more than ever.

  • Pamela Holmes

    How wonderful to have the Post and Rockwell at the President’s left shoulder…reminding him of the work we are all doing to rebuild. Fabulous!!

    I can’t wait for the Post’s exhibit of covers to come to Lafayette! Keep us posted (no pun intended).

  • RJ

    Apparently m bradley can’t see the painting due to the red mist that has descended over his/her? eyes.

  • JWD

    What does that have to do with a Rockwell painting hanging in the White House?

  • m bradley

    Cronyism at its best

    01/09/10
    Our oh mighty-er now 44th and 111th has the attitude of acting above the law evidence has it only to fined congress plays more under the table and behind the backs and on the backs of the people acting as if we don’t matter. Our elected officials are sell outs
    Obama promised to clean up he just made it dirtier and easier to sellout the American people and the Constitution when the media plays him he can’t do any wrong giving the benefit of a doubt is for fools now we have a secret radical organization ready to unleash operation ((( disenfranchised ))) this is a total assault on the middle class.
    Enemies of the people seems to be within our own representative. Enemies of small business and the workers seems to be Andy Sterns and his SEIU thugs as we already have seen Obamas crony Eric Holder has enacted get out of jail cards for thugs who thug for Obama

    The 44th and the 111th Congress which is full of misconduct and ethics violations which seems to be standard operating procedure with Dodd, Conrad, Waters, Durbin. Rangal, Murtha, to name a few. Knowing Speaker Pelosi is holding up ethics investigation’s. Long time Pelosi friend Zoe Lofgren the House ethics committee’s chairman, House ethics investigators have been scrutinizing the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling.

    Silent Injustice is the fact is if the ethics committee’s chairman Zoe Lofgren and her investigators are doing what there best at which is protecting there own within the beltway. The bigger point is if this committee was doing there job. Congress my not have had enough congress to votes to pass any Legislation.

    The real wrong here is our lawmakers insulting the same laws they took an Oath to defend. we don’t have to fear there are more of us. Its time to bear our Constitutional rights and show evil and its tyranny the door once again and remove the ignorance and the arrogance and take back what we fought for 233 years ago