Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Norman Rockwell, FDR, Lincoln and the Cider House Rules

Wonder what all of the above could have in common? They were all part of a wonderful fall weekend we just had! We visited The Norman Rockwell Museum where I learned about a connection between Rockwell and FDR. We saw Chesterwood, the country home of Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial. And, we went to Ventfort, built by Sarah Morgan, sister of J.P. Morgan - where the exterior scenes for the movie The Cider House Rules were filmed.

The Norman Rockwell Museum is in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where Rockwell lived for the last twenty five years of his life.
There's a very interesting article about Norman Rockwell in this month's Vanity Fair. Many thanks to R. Michael Palan who brought the article to my attention at the Illustrator's Party!

This is Rockwell's studio. It was the last of 20 that he had in his life. It was originally located in the town of Stockbridge. Towards the end of his life, Rockwell donated the studio to the museum. It was cut in two and moved, on two flatbed trucks, to the grounds of the museum.

Wonderful north light! We couldn't take photos inside the studio, but if you'd like a small peak, click here.

There's so much to say about the work of Norman Rockwell that I would hardly know where to begin! And, the Vanity Fair article mentioned above says a lot! So, I'll just focus on something that I learned about this past weekend - something that I found to be extremely moving. The poster above is called the Four Freedoms. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress, giving his historic "Four Freedoms" speech. At the time, Europe was under Nazi domination. Roosevelt gave the speech to convince Congress and the country of the necessity of war and to appeal to American's most profound beliefs. Rockwell was so inspired by the speech that he created these paintings to illustrate the "Four Freedoms" theme. The paintings became part of a massive, successful U.S. war bond drive.

Here is a portion of FDR's "Four Freedoms" speech.

And commentary about the paintings from the Norman Rockwell Museum.

This building is a "cottage" on the grounds of the museum. It was built by the original owners of the property and is now used for events, weddings, etc.

Sculpture by Peter Rockwell, Norman Rockwell's youngest son is displayed on the grounds of the museum.

The grounds are 36 acres of parklike beauty.

Another shot from the grounds of the museum. Leaf peeping at it's best!

Later in the day, we strolled around the center of Stockbridge. This is an alleyway of shops off of the main street.
In front of the Red Lion Inn - Stockbridge.

Peace, Love and Chocolate? Works for me!

More fall splendor in Stockbridge!

Chesterwood. Also in Stockbridge, near the Norman Rockwell Museum, this is the country home of Daniel Chester French who is best known as the sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

This statue of Lincoln is on the grounds of Chesterwood.

Ventfort in Lenox, Massachusetts. This was built in 1893 by Sarah Morgan, sister of J.P. Morgan. The exterior scenes of the Cider House Rules were filmed here.

continued.... a couple more photos in "older posts."

Shot from the porch of Ventfort. I love this photo! (I didn't take this one!)

There's no place like home! Well, this was on the grounds of our temporary home for this lovely weekend! We stayed in Lenox.

A couple more shots of the grounds around our inn. It was hard to leave!

Happy Trails! On our last day, we had a hike in the woods. Then, it was time to head home. A slow meandering drive. Great weekend! Fall in New England!