Vail Symposium hosts Monday program on Norman Rockwell virtually |

Vail Symposium hosts Monday program on Norman Rockwell virtually

"Triple Self Portrait" is one of Norman Rockwell's most famous works.
Special to the Daily

With coronavirus concerns sweeping across Eagle County and the public health order banning gatherings of 50-plus persons, some event organizers have chosen to take their programming to a different venue: the world wide web.

The Vail Symposium is one such organization, hosting its program Imagining Freedom: Timothy Standring Curates Norman Rockwell online via streaming. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the anticipated Scott Pelley program originally scheduled for Thursday, March 19, but the symposium did say they’d look to reschedule with the respected “60 Minutes” anchor.

“All other programming is on a case-by-case basis: a few might be virtual, others might be rescheduled or canceled altogether but we’re taking those one-by-one,” Vail Symposium’s press representative Katie Coakley said in an email.

For Monday’s program, curator Timothy Standring discusses Norman Rockwell’s legacy. The illustrator is best remembered for drawing covers for The Saturday Evening Post for nearly five decades. But Rockwell was more than just an illustrator.  

Standring, the Gates Family Foundation Curator at the Denver Art Museum, will discuss the circumstances leading up to the creation of Rockwell’s paintings “The Four Freedoms” (1943) and the astonishing impact they had on a nation recovering from the Depression whilst mobilizing Americans behind a war on foreign soil. Following their publication in the Saturday Evening Post, the four works were shown on a tour of 16 cities across the nation in an effort to sell bonds to support the war effort. Astonishingly, that tour raised over 133 million dollars. And yet the Office of War Information originally rejected his contribution, telling him that they were going to use “real artists.” 

This anecdote and others form the heart of Standring’s probing look at these four powerful images, as well as his behind-the-scenes stories leading up to “Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom,” an exhibition organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, opening on May 3, 2020 at the Denver Art Museum.

Timothy James Standring began at the Denver Art Museum in 1989. Since, he has led a significant initiative to make art and art history accessible to a broader public and has served the museum in many capacities. He has curated more than 18 exhibitions at the museum—most notably “Becoming Van Gogh”—and has published widely in Burlington Magazine, Master Drawings, Print Quarterly, Artibus et Historiae, Renaissance Quarterly and Apollo. His next exhibition for 2021-22 regards Americans working in France during the Gilded Age. 

Prior to his work at the Museum, Standring spent much of his career in academia with appointments at the Universities of Denver, Lawrence, and Loyola of Chicago, as well as at Pomona College. His degrees are from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago. 

To stay up to date with Vail Symposium programming and to gather more information about how to sign into a virtual event, please visit

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