"What'd you do, grow up in a Norman Rockwell painting?" Woody Allen sarcastically quipped in the movie Annie Hall, reacting to his newfound lady love's description of her blissful all-American family life. Whether or not you agree with the snarky attitude, that line is a testament to the fact that Rockwell created the definitive vision of American apple pie, a visual vocabulary to describe all the wonderful little things that make up a part of our cultural identity. But his artwork is much more than waxing nostalgic on our nation's values. In addition to being a consummate draftsman, Rockwell was an adept storyteller and his artwork dealt with topical issues of the day, highlighting the heroism of the average American life.
George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg—who ply their storytelling craft with celluloid instead of paint and brushes—have amassed a collection of Rockwell paintings and a selection of 50 of those pieces will be on display next summer at the American Art Museum from July 2, 2010 through January 2, 2011. "Lucas, Spielberg and Rockwell perpetuate ideas about love of country, personal honor and the value of family in their work," says Virginia M. Mecklenburg, senior curator and organizer of the exhibit as well as author of the catalog that complements the show. "With humor and pathos, they have transformed everyday experiences into stories revealing the aspirations and values that have sustained Americans through good times and bad."
("Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg," Smithsonian American Art Museum, July 2, 2010 through January 2, 2011.)