“War News” was completed in 1945 but never published, unlike many of his illustrations and paintings.
Critics have complained that Rockwell's paintings
“simplified unmercifully and reassured inappropriately”. Lovers of his work appreciate the
loving and respectful human relations that they portray and which seem to have become rather rare in the new
Other masterpieces painted by Rockwell the same year were Thanksgiving: Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes and The Homecoming
which are both in private collections.
This painting is particularly relevant today as Americans closely follow news about America's War on Terrorism following 9/11. Americans everywhere have always had tremendous concern about war casualties and the latest developments in its continuous wars against other nations.
It helps to understand Rockwell's mood in 1945 when he painted War News. It had been reported that Rockwell's 1943 paintings, The Four Freedoms, had been viewed by 1.2 million people and had caused US$132 million worth of war bonds to be sold.
It was also reported that those paintings were the most reproduced works of all time. That seems quite unlikely but The New Yorker reported that same year that The Four Freedoms had been received by the public with more enthusiasm than “any other paintings in the history of American art.” The keywords are “American art” but again one has to wonder about the accuracy of that statement. Patriotism was popular at the time and War News catered to it.
Rockwell often felt he held the low rung on the ladder of fine art. He considered Pablo Picasso “the greatest”, sprinkling a bit of Cubism in some of his paintings. He was also inspired and influenced by Mondrian.
Memorable Quote: “May God deliver us from the worst of all sins!:
Man's own religious hypocritical self-righteousness and evil knowledge
and greed for power through every form of cruelty, including war!”