ROCKWELL, NORMAN. 1894-1978.
2 Autograph Letters Signed ("Norman"), 14 pp, 8vo, New York, January 19, 1943 and May 9, 1943 (postmark dates), The Berkshire (New York) letterhead, to Clyde Forsythe, with transmittal envelopes, discussing works in progress, family and friends, travels, a visit with troops at Fort Benning, and a fire in his studio. WITH: The Four Freedoms in The Saturday Evening Post, vol 214, nos 33-37 (February 13-March 13, 1943). Folio. Quarter morocco, morocco spine label stamped in gilt. Spine sunned, some wear to spine ends and corners. INSCRIBED by Rockwell to Forsythe.
In the letter from January 1943, Rockwell writes to his close friend, the Western artist Clyde Forsythe, regarding the creation of his iconic quartet of paintings The Four Freedoms, featured in consecutive issues of the Saturday Evening Post in 1943 as "a series depicting the four freedoms for which we fight." Rockwell writes, "It took me just six month [sic] to paint the Freedoms. The first one I did over three time, the second twice but the last two only once....When I finished them four months late they gave me a very cute staff luncheon. Much kidding about my promptness and Mr. Hicks laughingly suggested I begin on the ten commandments." Rockwell opens the second letter with alarming news: "Well! It happened! The Studio and Barn burned down. What I mean is down. Not a thing left. Not a thumb tack or a kneaded eraser." He goes on to give details of the fire which destroyed his Arlington, Vermont studio, in which many original paintings and Rockwell's collection of costumes and props were lost. The issues of the Post which reproduced The Four Freedoms, along with the the preceding number featuring an article on Rockwell, are here bound in a presentation binding, with an inscription reading, "Dear Clyde,- These beautifully bound volumes are just another example of that wonderful generosity and thoughtfulness that makes you the grand person and perfect friend that you are. I am deeply touched and thrilled and I thank you. Your Friend Norman Rockwell. April 24, 1943. Arlington. Vt." Rockwell and Forsythe had shared a studio in New Rochelle, New York, at the beginning of their careers; it was Forsythe who first introduced Rockwell to the staff of The Saturday Evening Post.