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Norman Rockwell Museum Collections
"Triple Self-Portrait" (1960) captures Norman Rockwell's trademark humor.

PROVO, UTAH

Many of the most familiar paintings from American artist Norman Rockwell will be spending a few months at a Church-owned school.

Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art will host “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell” — a major exhibition featuring more than 50 paintings by the beloved illustrator. The exhibit opens Nov. 20 and will run through Feb. 13, 2016.

Mr. Rockwell (1894-1978) created some of the country’s most recognizable and beloved works of art. His illustrations often offer sentimental glimpses into American culture — celebrating faith, families, youth and sports.

But his illustrations could also be rich in realism and social consciousness. His brush captured key moments from the Civil Rights Movement and other challenging moments in United States history from the 20th century.

“The exhibition is exciting for all audiences, enabling young and old to reflect on some of the most vital, momentous chapters in American history,” said exhibition educator Lynda Palma in a museum statement. “Through this lens we can compare our lives today with those of the past — an era of world war, civil rights and unprecedented technological innovation — and learn the valuable lessons that only hindsight can provide.”

Mr. Rockwell was a prolific illustrator. His works depicting moments of Americana were found on over 300 covers of the “Saturday Evening Post.” His many works celebrating Scouting graced “Boy’s Life” magazine. (Much of his Scout-themed work was exhibited two years ago at the Church History Museum near Temple Square.)

Visitors to “American Chronicles” will recognize many of the paintings on display — including “No Swimming,” “Triple Self-portrait” and “Family Tree.”

Perhaps one of the artist’s most provocative paintings — “The Problem We All Live With” (1963) — will also be featured. It depicts a little girl named Ruby Bridges who became the first black child to attend a newly segregated school in New Orleans.

In conjunction with the Norman Rockwell exhibition, Ms. Bridges will share her experiences and memories from this historic moment on Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at the BYU Museum of Art.

"[Mr. Rockwell] was an extremely gifted storyteller and I think that our audience will love seeing iconic Rockwell paintings that cheerfully celebrate ordinary people in everyday, and often idealized, situations,” said head educator and exhibition curator Janalee Emmer in a museum statement. “But Rockwell was also deeply interested in documenting social issues, such as desegregation, civil rights and poverty and this exhibition provides the opportunity to see that side of Rockwell as well.

“It’s an extremely moving exhibition — poignantly capturing both the joys and sorrows of our history.”

“American Chronicles” will be free of charge. Additional information about the exhibition and the museum can be found at moa.byu.edu.

jswensen@deseretnews.com @JNSwensen

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