Joining Forces

Spielberg and Lucas Share Rockwell Collection

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are combining their personal Norman Rockwell collections for an exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum next year. The blockbuster directors will share more than 50 of Rockwell’s paintings and drawings, accompanied by footage of them speaking about the acclaimed American artist. One of Spielberg’s paintings, however, will not be on display. The director purchased Rockwell’s “Russian Schoolroom” in 1989 from an art dealer at a New Orleans auction, but relinquished the work in 2007 when he unknowingly became involved in an art-theft cinematic saga. That year, one of Spielberg’s assistants saw the painting listed on an FBI website of stolen art works, prompting the director to contact the FBI, which requested the painting be handed over. Though “Russian Schoolroom” reportedly rests in a clandestine Las Vegas location, the other works on display and the men behind them “perpetuate ideas about love of country, personal honour and the value of family,” Virginia Mecklenburg, curator of the exhibition explains. “They have transformed everyday experiences into stories revealing the aspirations and values that have sustained Americans through good times and bad.” The exhibit will open in the D.C. museum in July 2010, where it will run until January 2, 2011.