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Norman Rockwell Image Promotes French Museum Exhibit

 

On March 31, 2004, in Paris, France, the Musee du Luxembourg will open an exhibition of self-portraits by some of the most renowned names in 20th century art. The show includes such world-famous artists as Picasso, Matisse, and Degas, but the image used to promote the exhibit across Paris is none other than the self-portrait by the icon of all things American, Norman Rockwell. Is this a cultural détente? At the very least, Norman Rockwell, the quintessential American artist, will add a touch of old-fashioned American humor and wit to the Paris scene this spring. After all, this is the country that for decades has idolized the films of American comedian Jerry Lewis. So perhaps it is fitting that now it is Norman Rockwell's turn to take the French cultural world by storm.

"Imagine! Norman Rockwell is the focal point of a European exhibition of modern masters," says Norman Rockwell Museum Director Laurie Norton Moffatt. "He has been given an extraordinary tribute by the French ministers of culture. They have selected Triple Self-Portrait as the most engaging artist's self-portrait of the 20th century. I wish Norman were alive to see this. He would really get a chuckle out of it!"

The Norman Rockwell Museum is lending Rockwell's famous self-portrait to the exhibit of more than 150 artists of the 20th century. The exhibition is called Moi! Autoportraits du XXeme siecle (Me! Self-portraits of the 20th Century ). It will open on March 31 and run through July 25, 2004, at the French Senate's Musee du Luxembourg. The exhibition travels to the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy, in September.

After seeing Rockwell's Triple Self-Portrait in an exhibition catalogue, the cultural attaché to the French Senate asked the Norman Rockwell Museum if it would loan the painting to the exhibition. Once the loan was secured, curator Pascal Bonafoux and the exhibit's organizer, Sylvestre Verger of Sylvestre Verger Art Organization, selected Norman Rockwell's work to be the signature image for the exhibition for the show. Rockwell's image appears on the cover of the exhibition's catalogue and invitation, on posters, metro cards, billboards, and bus posters throughout the city, and will be on the cover of a special edition of the magazine Paris Match magazine.

The exhibit examines artists' self-portraits of the 20th century, a century marked by individualism and the view that the portrait is an act of self-examination, affirmation and revelation. "The self-portrait is the most intense unmasking of the artist's identity", says curator Pascal Bonafoux, who adds that the exhibition reveals 150 different responses to the same question: "Who am I"? (right: announcement for Moi! Autoportraits du XXeme siecle (Me! Self-portraits of the 20th Century)

Self-portraits of artists Picasso, Matisse, Vuillard, Warhol, Basquiat, Chagall, Chuck Close, Degas, Dubuffet, Ernst, Giacometti, Frida Kahlo, Ferdinard Leger, Miro, and Mondrian, among others, will be featured in the exhibition. Norman Rockwell's self-portrait, which is actually three self-portraits, includes portraits of Norman Rockwell's own artistic heroes, Durer, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Van Gogh.

The Norman Rockwell Museum is dedicated to art appreciation and education through new scholarship that illuminates Rockwell's unique contributions to art, society, and popular culture. As a center devoted to the art of illustration, the Museum also exhibits the works of contemporary and past masters in an ongoing series of compelling artist showcases. Previous exhibitions at the Museum have presented the work of Charles Schulz, Winslow Homer, Howard Pyle, J.C. Leyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, Rockwell Kent, Al Hirschfeld, Robert Weaver, and others. Set on a picturesque 36-acre estate in the hometown of America's favorite artist, the Norman Rockwell Museum is one of the crown jewels

 

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