A Moment of Inspiration

Norman Rockwell struggled hard to portray American freedom on canvas, reports his granddaughter.

Man speaking

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Freedom of Speech
“Freedom of Speech”
from the “Four Freedoms” by Norman Rockwell

My grandfather was very intent on getting everything right with the Four Freedoms. He poured himself into the project completely, to the exclusion of all else for seven months. In fact, he was so enormously fatigued after finishing them that he intentionally embarked on a fun, light project; the first of his April Fool’s covers — where he could relish creating “mistakes” and not worry about getting it all right.

Our four freedoms are freedoms that we can be unaware of these days, until one of those freedoms is threatened. In the light of the recent tragedy in France, we are all much more cognizant of the vital importance of freedom of speech; it grants us the luxury and gift of free expression in our lives, our work, our art. When freedom of speech is attacked anywhere in this world, we all feel the damage and repercussions of that. We are there in France in spirit, and we carry them in our hearts as we all move forward to heal, restore, and continue to assert our right to that important freedom.

I must say that it is a freedom that also needs to be employed responsibly — with respect for the truth and consideration for others. Those who abuse this freedom by willfully presenting fraudulent material, knowing they are protected by this freedom, are simply abusing one of our greatest gifts.

All of this is a reminder to us to really think about what we are contributing to this world while we are here. Let’s make it something positive and uplifting. It is our legacy.

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  1. Hi Abigail. Thank you for sharing the behind-the-scenes toll the ‘Four Freedoms’ took on your grandfather, and the April Fool’s covers being a fun change of pace for him afterward.

    I love the fact you’re a jazz singer and songwriter as well. I think you can add excellent writer to your credits as well. I love the fact you’re now part of the Saturday Evening Post family, and look forward to reading more features by you in the future. We’re on the eve of the Post’s Rockwell Centennial, so this is definitely perfect timing.

  2. Abigail it is great that you carry on the legacy of your grandfather. I have a number of his paintings and a desk with the 4 seasons on the front which I love. I also have plates of his drawings. Great man in his expressions.


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