This has been the iconic American Thanksgiving feast since the painting first appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1943. Painter Norman Rockwell was inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union address in 1941 about the Four Freedoms (Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship). 1943 was a dark time for the United States, the depths of World War II, many of its men and women in uniform and overseas away from their families, and the news relentlessly grim. It’s hard to overestimate the impact of Rockwell’s painting of abundance, not simply of food, but of love and warmth and family gatherings and rejoicing.

The painting is on view, along with its companion Freedoms, at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA (our former home town). Rockwell remains the unequalled chronicler of twentieth-century America, its dreams and aspirations and longings. If you’ve ever in the area, the museum is an enthralling place to visit. Incidentally, local people (in Arlington, Vermont, and then in Stockbridge) were always the models for his paintings. See the guy in the lower right corner peeking out at us? Guess who he is? Yep, Norman Rockwell himself, present for the feast!


This entry was posted in Autumn, Democracy, Etcetera, Freedom, Friendship, Happiness, Home, Paintings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to FREEDOM FROM WANT

  1. Madhu says:

    Isn’t that an amazing painting? Almost like a photograph!
    Happy thanksgiving to you and your loved ones 🙂


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Do you know Rockwell’s work? That is how it all is, and it’s all amazing. He worked from live models primarily but also used photographs as well.
      Thanks so much for the Thanksgiving wishes!


  2. suitablefish says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Judith.


  3. Yes, that is life as I want it to be too…

    Happy Thanksgiving *gobble gobble*


  4. Here is hoping you had a most magical and marvelous Thanksgiving!!!


  5. Ellyn says:

    Interesting that you posted that photo. My dad was a big fan of Rockwell’s. Ironically, I now work with Rockwell’s grandson; he’s in charge of exhibits at the museum. His other grandfather was a scientist so it make sense that he works at a science/art museum. He’s wonderful. Sometimes, when I’m talking to him, I think about my dad and how he would get a big kick out of it. Happy post-Thanksgiving to you and Frank–sending lots of love from your family in the west…


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Ellyn, great to hear from you!
      We lived in the town (Stockbridge) with Rockwell’s museum, so we heard a lot about his sons. Your Exploratorium guy is the son of one of the sons. Do you know which one? They were all interesting, at least two of them artists/sculptors.
      I can absolutely see your dad LOVING Rockwell’s work, absolutely two souls in synch.


  6. ideflex says:

    Rockwell comes from that very special breed of 20th century American painter/illustrators that were able to pull a whole variety of emotion and “nostalgia” out of their subject matter without trivializing it or making it into a parody – young artists today could learn much from them. Thanks for visiting.


  7. Touch2Touch says:

    That’s a post-modern construction of the term, you young thing.
    People didn’t desire so much in older days like Rockwell’s Forties, maybe we were too poor to be so ambitious as now.
    WANT then meant lack. Wanting food was to go hungry. Therefore freedom from want was freedom from hunger. (And it didn’t mean gourmet restaurants, either, there not being a whole lot of those, it meant having enough to eat each day. As in, Give us this day our daily bread.)
    But I concur heartily — we have become prisoners to our own wants, which every commercial in print or on TV stokes constantly.


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