Sneak Peek: Danny Galieote’s Four Freedoms
In an 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. Inspired, Norman Rockwell then illustrated each of the freedoms from the perspective of his own ordinary, hometown experiences. For JoAnne Artman Gallery’s Fall 2020 show, Yes, Masters: A MANthology, Danny Galieote creates modern versions of Rockwell’s Four Freedoms series, incorporating modern social concerns and underscoring the timeless truths of human nature.
Norman Rockwell, Four Freedoms. Image Courtesy: TIME
“I like to think of these paintings as being timeless in the sense that they relate to our needs as humans since the beginning of time,” explains Galieote. “FDR made his famous speech about the Four Freedoms in '43 in one of the most intense times during WWII and Rockwell painted them when people wanted and needed such encouragement.”
Released in a series of four full-color, full-page editions in the Saturday Evening Post, each freedom depicted by Rockwell was accompanied by an essay of the same title. The panels were published in successive weeks in the order corresponding to Roosevelt's speech:Freedom of Speech (February 20, 1943), Freedom of Worship (February 27, 1943), Freedom from Want (March 6, 1943), and Freedom from Fear (March 13, 1943).
Danny Galieote. Freedom of Speech Study (Woman). Conte + Gouache on Paper. 25 x 18 inches
Not just a rationalization for war, Roosevelt's call for human rights has created a lasting legacy worldwide. These freedoms became symbols of hope during World War II, adopted by the Allies as the basic tenets needed to create a lasting peace. Following the end of the war, the Four Freedoms formed the basis for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“In fact, Rockwell's paintings of his Four Freedoms were shipped around the country via train, in what was called 'The Freedom Train', to allow as many people as possible to see them,” Galieote continues. “[My] four new works are images of people TODAY, but they're in recognizable compositions that relate to this core set of meanings behind Rockwell's iconic imagery of people that can exist THEN and NOW.”
Danny Galieote. Freedom of Speech Study (Man). Conte + Gouache on Paper. 18 x 14 inches
These freedoms, Roosevelt declared, must triumph everywhere in the world, and act as a basis of a new moral order. "Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere."
The spirit behind both Rockwell’s and Galieote’s series reveals the enduring legacy of timeless ideals. While the ravages of COVID-19 have forced nations all over the globe to curtail their citizen’s daily rights in response to the virus, the call to participate in a cause greater than ourselves allows us to extend freedom from want and fear to other citizens of the world. As Galieote pays tribute to Rockwell, FDR, and mid-century America, his contemporary adaptations remind us that these freedoms are only enduring if we choose to make them so.
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