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“Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg” Opens at the Smithsonian American Art Museum July 2, 2010

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is organizing the first major exhibition to explore the
connections between Norman Rockwell’s iconic images of American life and the movies. Two of
America’s best-known modern filmmakers—George Lucas and Steven Spielberg—recognized a
kindred spirit in Rockwell and formed in-depth collections of his work. “Telling Stories: Norman
Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg” will be on view in
Washington, D.C., from July 2, 2010, through Jan. 2, 2011. The museum is the only venue for the

Norman Rockwell Shadow Artist
Norman Rockwell "Shadow Artist" 1920, Oil on Canvas

“Norman Rockwell is an artist and a storyteller who captured universal truths about Americans
that tell us a lot about who we are as a people,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent
Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “Like Rockwell, both George Lucas and Steven
Spielberg embrace the idea that ordinary people can become unlikely heroes. I am delighted that the
Smithsonian American Art Museum is organizing the first exhibition to explore these new connections
between Rockwell’s art and the movies.”
Rockwell was a masterful storyteller who could distill a narrative into a single moment, and his
pictures tell stories about the adventure of growing up, of individuals rising up in the face of adversity,
the glamour of Hollywood and the importance of tolerance in American life. His images contain rich
character development, subtle scenic contexts and implied narratives that resemble movie-making
“Rockwell’s pictures highlight topical issues that emerged in movies, popular fiction and the
news,” said Virginia M. Mecklenburg, senior curator and organizer of the exhibition. “This exhibition
and its catalog offer new insights into why Rockwell chose to paint particular subjects with particular
points of view and dramatically expands our understanding of Rockwell as an observant commentator
on pressing issues of the day.”

The exhibition will showcase more than 50 major Rockwell paintings and drawings from these
private collections that are rarely seen by the public. Excerpts from interviews in which Lucas and
Spielberg talk about Rockwell and the works in their collections will be shown in the exhibition

“Lucas, Spielberg and Rockwell perpetuate ideas about love of country, personal honor and the
value of family in their work,” said Mecklenburg. “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.”

An illustrated book written by Mecklenburg, with a contribution by Todd McCarthy, film critic
for Variety, will accompany the exhibition.

For more information about the museum, hours and location:
Admission is free to all museums in the Smithsonian complex


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