On June 20, a special new exhibit opened at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to commemorate the UN’s 70th anniversary: “We the Peoples: Norman Rockwell’s United Nations.”
The exhibit, presented by the Norman Rockwell Museum in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and the UN Department of Public Information, features a drawing Rockwell created of the UN in 1953, his “Golden Rule” painting, and other artworks and photographs that “reflect his appreciation for humanity as a citizen of the world,” according to the museum.
Rockwell sketched the UN drawing by hand using pencil and charcoal on paper. He intended to turn it into a painting, but never did. Instead, he later used the sketch as inspiration for his “Golden Rule” painting, which was published on a 1961 cover of the Saturday Evening Post.
According to the museum, “Rockwell conceived an image of the United Nations as the world’s hope for the future.” The original sketch depicts members of the UN Security Council with people representing citizens from around the world behind them.
Of his artwork and activism, Rockwell said, “Like everyone else, I’m concerned with the world situation, and like everyone else, I’d like to contribute some to help. The only way I can contribute is through my pictures.”
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “United Nations,” 1953. Study for an unfinished illustration. Pencil and charcoal on paper. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.