Answered By: Archives & Library Staff @The Henry Ford
Last Updated: Mar 01, 2022 Views: 28


In 1951, Henry Ford II wrote to Norman Rockwell asking him to create something for the Ford Motor Company's 50th anniversary, which resulted in Rockwell creating eight paintings for the 50th anniversary calendar. Four of these paintings still exist today.

Rockwell gifted the paintings to Ford Motor Company in 1952, but they were never accessioned by the Ford Archives. The Street was Never the Same Again was donated to the Detroit Historical Museum in 1963 and the rest (except possibly The Three Generations) were transferred to the Edison Institute (The Henry Ford) along with the majority of the Ford Archives in 1964. They were not accessioned at the Edison Institute either and were kept in storage boxes. In 1970, all but three of the paintings were destroyed in a museum fire. After the fire, the surviving three were accessioned into the collection. The paintings were never titled by Rockwell, but over the years certain titles have been used. 

 

The location of these paintings are as follows: 

The Boy who put the World on Wheels
. Location: The Henry Ford, 64.1325.2



Henry Ford and the Horseless Carriage. Location: The Henry Ford, 64.167.1325.1



A Sunday Afternoon Farm Scene. Location: The Henry Ford, 64.167.1325.3



The Street was Never the Same Again
. Donated to Detroit Historical Museum.



Cross Roads on A Sunday
. Transferred to The Henry Ford in 1964, lost in 1970 museum fire.



Henry Ford II Portrait. Transferred to The Henry Ford in 1964, lost in 1970 museum fire.



Three Brothers. Transferred to The Henry Ford in 1964, lost in 1970 museum fire.



Three Generations. Location unknown (our notes show it may never have been transferred to The Henry Ford).

 

Preparatory studies and paintings were also made by Rockwell, but The Henry Ford has never had these in the collection. Rockwell also designed corporate Christmas cards for Ford Motor Company in 1951 and 1952.

 

Resources:

Research Center Archives Vertical File
   Rockwell, Norman
   Rockwell Calendar
   Rockwell Paintings
      General
      1876, Henry Ford at Workbench
      1896, Car in Bagley Shed 1
      1903, Ford on Streets
      1908, Model T on Farm (“Boss of the Road”)
      1946, Sedan With Canoe
   Rockwell Portraits
      1952, Ford Henry II
      1953, Ford, Henry, Henry II, Edsel
      1953, Ford Brothers

Acc. 241 Department Executive Records
   box 10 Calendar Correspondence and Reports
               Norman Rockwell

Acc. 506 Mills, Edmunds and Nevins and Hill Series
   box 33 Rockwell paintings, 1954-1955
   

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The Henry Ford
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Dearborn, Michigan, USA 48121-1970