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The problem we all live

Painting, 1964, 91.4×147.3 cm

Description of the artwork «The problem we all live»

The Norman Rockwell Painting "The problem we all live" opened a new period in the artist's work. At this time, Rockwell leaves to work in "The Saturday Evening Post" and begins to illustrate the magazine with more democratic views – "Look", where the artist can Express their attitude to social problems in society (1, 2).

In this journal published illustration, which will become a symbol of the struggle for racial equality. The editors do not dare to mark it on the cover of the magazine (which usually printed the wizard), none of the American magazine in 1960-e years would not have done it. Probably to understand the power, challenge and value of this famous painting would have to be born in America.

In the painting "the Problem we all live" the artist captures a historic moment: for the first time in the history of the American South black girl goes to a school for whites. It happened on November 14, 1960 in New Orleans in elementary school, W. Franz, and legally – according to the decision of the Federal court in 1960 in the United States was the repeal of the law that divides the population along racial lines. However, this event caused the city a lot of protests and harassment of the family of ruby Bridges, the same girl was sent to study at General school. Today it is called the American heroine (historic footage of ruby).

That day, little ruby bridges, going to school, did not even realize that an angry mob gathered about her, and five men who accompanied her to school were her guards. One of the marshals who escorted ruby that day, Charles barks recalled "She showed great courage. She never cried. She didn't scream. She just walked on like a little soldier. And we are all very proud of".

Many years later in an interview ruby said that every day the townspeople came and threatened her: "There were days when it was mom with a little coffin and laid him in a black doll, and at night I had nightmares". She was the only black student in his class the whole year.

Norman Rockwell four years after this event the painting "the Problem we all live". Interestingly, the artist constructed the composition: in the center of the painting we see a little girl in a white dress which contrasted with her skin color. She is accompanied by four Deputy U.S. Marshal in the official costumes, their figures are cut off at the shoulders, their faces we see. Instead of threatening crowds Rockwell depicted a brick wall with nasty behind their anger: demeaning to African-Americans, the words "nigger", smeared a trace of from the thrown tomatoes and the acronym of the Ku Klux Klan "KKK" is a terrorist organization that advocated white supremacist. A key detail of the picture is a armband of men with the words "Deputy U.S. Marshal". The whole point and value of this painting is yellow armbands that indicate that the girl do not accompany the marshals - it is guarded by United States of America.

"The problem we all live" was the first work that the Museum acquired Rockwell in 1975. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the integration of schools in 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama hung this painting in the oval office of the White House and invited ruby bridges (photo:

She ruby Bridges in 1999, he founded the "Fund" in "support of such values as tolerance, respect and acceptance of all differences". Speaking about the picture in which she was the main heroine, she expressed deep gratitude to Norman Rockwell for what "he had the courage to get out of the crowd and say, "I want to make a statement." And he did it in a very violent way".

Author: Irina Oleh
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1964

Size: 91.4×147.3 cm

Artwork in selections: 29 selections

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