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A-1 jacket in art history, 1943

Longshanks

New in Town
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39
Location
New York, NY
Here's an interesting footnote to the history of the A-1 jacket:

Rockwel_FreedomOfSpeech.png


Norman Rockwell completed a set of four patriotic-themed paintings during World War 2 that proved to be so emotive that they were turned, as you can see, into posters for the War Bond drive. In the painting "Freedom of Speech," and of interest to this group, the jacket worn by the central figure is I believe a well-broken-in A-1.

The consensus art historical and political view is that Rockwell's intent was to show that in the United States a common man has the right to speak his mind and be heard. Rockwell wanted to show that the respect accorded by the listeners was without regard to any difference that might exist in social status. It is an interesting question whether he chose specifically the A-1 to suggest the status of the speaker as that of an Everyman or whether the well-distressed condition of the jacket was the more important determinant.

In an exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2004, this jacket was displayed along with the paintings, and it was apparently worn at the town meeting in Arlington, Vermont, (where Rockwell lived) by the owner of a local gas station by the name of Carl Hess.

(if this has been brought up before, I apologize for the duplication).
 

thunderw21

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,044
Location
Iowa
Thank you for this!

I've long admired this painting in particular and especially the jacket. I had no idea it was an A-1!
 

rgraham

A-List Customer
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309
Location
Nor Cal
Also note that that is Rockwell himself, or at least his eyeball and cheek, in the upper left corner of the group.
 

Atticus Finch

Call Me a Cab
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2,717
Location
Coastal North Carolina, USA
I tend to agree with Fletch. Rockwell's "A-1" is likely a civilian jacket. Issued A-1s (and there were several variations) had collar buttons. The collar on the jacket in Rockwell's painting looks more like the collar on a 1940s varsity (letterman's) jacket.

GWA-1.jpg


AF
 

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