Stamford Exhibit Celebrates American Patriotism Through the Arts

The Stamford Museum & Nature Center is displaying an exhibit of American patriotic art featuring works from some of the 20th century’s most beloved artists, including hundreds of Norman Rockwell’s iconic Saturday Evening Post covers, which helped the nation define its self-image for nearly 50 years.

The American Patriotism Exhibit, which runs from Nov. 10 to January 27, 2019, will also include famed illustrator Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth’s 1922 illustrations for Brander Matthews’ “Poems of American Patriotism,” and a collection of illustrated sheet music from World War I. The Stamford Museum & Nature Center is located at 39 Scofieldtown Road, in North Stamford, CT

The exhibit showcases how the arts have an undeniable place in the ethos of American patriotism, displaying the different forms in which artists have expressed their own patriotism.

“It is gratifying to present so many historically significant examples of notable American–themed art, from masters like N.C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell, in one exhibition,” said Melissa H. Mulrooney, Executive Director and CEO of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. “We’re so grateful to the Farnsworth Art Museum, the American Illustrators Gallery the Stefanie Kies Collection, along with our sponsor Patriot Bank who made this memorable exhibition possible. I know our visitors will leave impressed and inspired.”

Norman Rockwell: Saturday Evening Post Covers & Four Freedoms Posters

From the American Illustrators Gallery in New York comes Norman Rockwell’s 323 Saturday Evening Post covers, created between 1916 and 1963, which are among the most iconic images in American culture. The covers, many of which depict an idealized small-town life, helped shape the American cultural narrative for decades.

In addition to the Post covers, Rockwell’s Four Freedoms posters, inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous Four Freedoms speech delivered to Congress on the eve of World War II, will be on display. Rockwell created four paintings depicting simple family scenes, illustrating freedoms Americans take for granted.

N.C. Wyeth: Poem & Paintings of American Patriotism

In 1922, famed American illustrator Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth was commissioned to illustrate a new edition of Brander Matthews’ “Poems of American Patriotism,” a compilation of poems by various American authors first published in 1882. Matthews’ book was what he described as a “history of America as told by her poets.”

This exhibition includes 16 of the surviving 17 N.C. Wyeth paintings, generously lent by The Hill School in Pottstown, PA. Wyeth’s paintings breathe life into poems that depict feelings as well as describing actions of the pivotal moments of American history.

World War I Illustrated Sheet Music

Sheet music has long documented the popular culture and social values of the times. The Stefanie Kies Collection of Stamford, CT is an array of illustrated sheet music covers from World War I. Many covers could easily be mistaken for political cartoons; some are whimsical, others are pointedly frank. All are intriguing reflections of their time.

“The Stamford Museum & Nature Center has a tradition of presenting important works from artists who reflected and responded to the national mood and character,” said Jillian Casey, Curator of Collections. “Being able to view iconic works by N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, along with selections of original World War I era sheet music, allows visitors to reflect on the place of art in the American historical narrative.”

“We are proud and honored to support the Stamford Museum & Nature Center as it gives visitors the chance to see these unique and wonderful works of American art and culture,” said Patriot Bank President Richard Muskus, Jr. “The Museum has a truly special place in our community and I encourage everyone to come and experience this culturally and historically significant exhibit for themselves.”

The exhibition is organized by the Stamford Museum & Nature Center; The Farnsworth Art Museum; the American Illustrators Gallery; the Stefanie Kies Collection and generously supported by a gift from Patriot Bank.

Opening Reception will be Friday, November 9, from 6 – 8 p.m. Free and open to the public.

Special Guest Lecture by Michael Komanecky, Chief Curator of the Farnsworth Art Museum on Saturday, Nov 10, 1– 3 p.m. free with gate admission. Mr. Komanecky will discuss Wyeth’s illustrations as part of a larger story about poetry in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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