Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Freedom From Want, 1943
oil on canvas
The Norman Rockwell Museum

In the first days of 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt made his historic “Four Freedoms” speech, attempting to rally support for the war effort.  At a time when Nazi powers dominated Western Europe, Roosevelt described his vision of a brighter future founded upon freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.  Norman Rockwell, the famed illustrator of Life Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post, captured these four ideas of freedom on a series of canvases.  He intended to donate the paintings to the War Department, but after receiving no response, the painter offered them to the Post, where they were first published in 1943. They were so popular that the magazine and the United States Department of Treasury later sponsored a traveling exhibit of the paintings, which raised $132 million in the sale of war bonds. Rockwell’s interpretation of “freedom from want” -- a smiling family gathered around a Thanksgiving turkey -- is considered to be the most enduring image, speaking to later generations.