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The Art of Steel: As Seen Through the Eyes of Norman Rockwell

The Art of Steel: As Seen Through the Eyes of Norman Rockwell

By: Elizabeth Lewin

rockwellposterI’ll never forget visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum. I still have one of his infamous covers for The Saturday Evening Post hanging on my wall, as I’m sure many of us do (if not there than perhaps on our coffee tables). After four decades of producing epic illustrations, renowned artist Norman Rockwell and his prints have made their way to Buffalo—in steel. This one-of-a-kind exhibit, The Art of Steel: As Seen Through the Eyes of Norman Rockwell, will be featured at the Steel Plant Museum of Western New York from May through November 1. Tonight, Friday, May 17, an opening reception is being held at The Steel Plant Museum of Western New York from 6pm-8pm. The unique exhibit features a series of 14 Rockwell prints commissioned by Sharon Steel Corporation in Pennsylvania. These artistic prints were used as advertisements to show the process of steelmaking and the new machinery in the steel plant. The exhibit is the Master’s Project of Buffalo State College’s Museum Studies student Megan Hahin, in collaboration with the Steel Plant Museum of Western New York. “Rockwell’s prints tell the story of steel from the loading of iron ore onto cargo cars from the coal mines to the welding of steel beams to create skyscrapers. These local artifacts show that the process of steelmaking was universal to create a more human story,” shared a spokesperson for the Museum. These particular prints are also displayed with artifacts from other local WNY steel plants such as: Bethlehem Steel, Republic Steel as well as a variety of others. For details and directions visit: steelplantmuseumwny.org.

Opening Reception 6pm – 8pm Friday May 17. On display May 17, 2013 – November 1, 2013 at the Steel Plant Museum of Western New York, Heritage DiscoveRy Center, 100 Lee St., Buffalo


  • Jane Petrick

    Very happy to see this little known aspect of Norman Rockwell’s work being presented. In my forthcoming book, “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell’s America”, I point out that an important aspect of the Sharon Steel series is that, according to photos available at the Norman Rockwell Museum and Archives, Rockwell chose a black man to model as the foreman at the electric furnace. To what extent the steel plant was actually integrated, I do not know. But this purposeful statement by Rockwell appears to be a continuation of the civil rights statements he was making in 1968, the year Look published his “Blood Brother” and “The Right To Know”.

    Sincerely,
    Jane Allen Petrick