Poster: Save Freedom of Speech

WORLD WAR II   |   Norman ROCKWELL

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"IN THE FUTURE DAYS, WHICH WE SEEK TO MAKE SECURE, WE LOOK FORWARD TO A WORLD FOUNDED UPON FOUR ESSENTIAL HUMAN FREEDOMS…": EXQUISITE WORLD WAR II POSTER—"SAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH"—BY NORMAN ROCKWELL BASED ON ROOSEVELT'S "FOUR FREEDOMS" SPEECH, 1943

(ROCKWELL, Norman). Poster: Save Freedom of Speech. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, [1943]. Color broadside poster, measuring 20 by 28 inches, linen backed and framed, entire piece measures 22-1/2 by 30-1/2 inches.

Lovely 1943 World War II poster titled "Save Freedom of Speech" by iconic American artist Norman Rockwell based on FDR's "Four Freedoms" speech and encouraging Americans to buy war bonds.

"In his January 1941 address to Congress, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt articulated his vision for a postwar world founded on four basic human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. In the spring of 1942, Norman Rockwell was working on a piece commissioned by the Ordnance Department of the U.S. Army… But Rockwell wanted to do more for the war effort and decided he would illustrate Roosevelt's four freedoms" (Norman Rockwell Museum). However, Rockwell struggled to find a perspective powerful enough to reach all Americans. Then, he went to a town hall meeting and witnessed a single man, surrounded by his neighbors, rise in dissent. As he so often had, Rockwell decided to reach America by using his own experiences, by depicting the everyday affairs of small-town American life. Unfortunately, the Ordnance Department was out of money, though Rockwell's drafts were unquestionably impressive. Rockwell turned to the Saturday Evening Post, which gave him permission to cease his work on covers once a month in order to provide the paintings for the Post's publication. "The paintings were a phenomenal success… In May 1943, representatives from the Post and the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a joint campaign to sell war bonds and stamps. They would send the Four Freedoms paintings along with 1,000 original cartoons and paintings by other illustrators and original manuscripts from The Saturday Evening Post on a national tour. Traveling to 16 cities, the exhibition was visited by more than a million people who purchased 133 million dollars in war bonds and stamps. Bonds were sold in denominations of $25, $100, and $1,000, and each person who purchased one received a set of prints of the four paintings. In addition, the Office of War Information printed four million sets of posters of the paintings. Each was printed with the words "Buy War Bonds" [as here]. They were distributed in United States schools and institutions, and overseas" (Norman Rockwell Museum). This poster is "Save Freedom of Speech," the only poster in the original set directly based on the town hall event that inspired Rockwell's entire series. See American Style, 132; Design for Victory, 37; IWM II:52; Judd 7.1; Nelson, 48; Pollack, 92-93; Posters for Victory, 40ff; War Posters 210.

Original folding creases. About-fine condition.

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