By Abigail Rockwell, jazz singer & granddaughter of Norman Rockwell – A painting by Norman Rockwell was moved in the Oval Office for the first meeting between President Obama and Mr. Trump so it would hang over Mr. Trump’s shoulder. In the painting the torch of the Statue of Liberty is being repaired by five men, one of whom is an African-American. All of them are precariously roped to her flame.
Who moved the painting and why? It is clearly too small for that space; a larger landscape painting had hung there previously. Originally the Rockwell painting was displayed to the right of President Obama’s desk and the expansive window, over a Frederick Remington sculpture, The Bronco Buster.
What is the meaning of this gesture? Most of my grandfather Norman Rockwell’s paintings are about tolerance, unity and the inherent goodness and resilience of the human spirit. The reflection of that vision and the profound presence of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the bust below, by African-American sculptor Charles Alston, speak volumes without saying a word. Perhaps they are able to say what Obama could not in these circumstances of necessary protocol.
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