April 23, 2015

"Mary Doyle Keefe, who modeled for Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter painting and became a true figure of 20th century Americana in the process..."

"... died on Tuesday in Simsbury, Connecticut. She was 92 years old and succumbed to a brief illness, the Associated Press reported."



Goodbye to an icon.

34 comments:

Big Mike said...

My late mother wasn't a riveter, but she did work in a factory during World War II. She was glad to relinquish her job to a returning veteran, settle down with my father when he returned from Europe, and have me and my siblings. Different times.

rcocean said...

Wow, those are a pair of arms that Joe Louis wouldn't envied.

Curious George said...

Sorry, she wasn't an icon. Nor a "true figure of the 20th century of America..." She isn't Rosie the Riveter. R the R is a mythical person.

Next.

Quaestor said...

Sorry, she wasn't an icon.

True, but "Rosie the Riveter" was quite literally an icon. A nice old broad who did her duty is dead, so be nice, George.

David said...

Rosie was a "composite."

Sam L. said...

I think the thing that really irritated art critics in thelater '50s and after was that Norman could draw/paint real people, and what's worse/worst, he DID.

sydney said...

Never realized she has her foot on Mein Kampf. Heh.

Quaestor said...

Sam L. wrote: I think the thing that really irritated art critics in the later '50s and after was that Norman could draw/paint real people...

I disagree. The critics of influence in the 1950's were men who came of age in the 1920's, the time when the Soviet Union discarded "bourgeois decadence" in favor of "socialist realism". If you weren't an ardent admirer of Lenin and all his works in the Twenties it wasn't likely you'd be able the breathe the rarified atmosphere that nurtured successful art critics. They didn't object to Rockwell's technique, they objected to his subtext. By the early Forties in the estimation of those critics Rockwell was either a jingoist tool of Wall Street or an heroic anti-Fascist polemicist, depending on which side of June 1941 the opinion was expressed. After the Berlin Blockade Crisis, Rockwell became a contemptible doodler once more. This attitude persisted into the Fifties and Sixties even after the bloom was off the Communist rose. In those days the fashionable position was to dislike both sides, except that America was disliked somewhat more than the USSR. Consequently Norman Rockwell, a New Deal liberal if there ever was one, was despised for being insufficiently apologetic for his patriotism.

Quaestor said...

For being insufficiently apologetic for his patriotism fashionable people never spoke of Norman Rockwell as an artist. Instead he was an illustrator, a position on the socialist pyramid roughly on a level with bootblacks and news hawkers, but less authentic.

khematite@aol.com said...

I think that today most people's image of Rosie the Riveter comes less from the Rockwell cover than from the 1943 J. Howard Miller poster "We Can Win It." The inspiration for that poster may have been a woman named Geraldine Hoff. She died in 2010.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Can_Do_It!

Fernandinande said...

Turns out Rockwell copied a picture painted in 1509. Adding the sandwich was funny.

Fernandinande said...

...about half-way down the page...

CWJ said...

Fernandinande,

That says maybe. OTOH, Rockwell always styled himself an illustrator rather than an artist, so perhaps your link is correct.

Sebastian said...

"despised for being insufficiently apologetic for his patriotism"

I guess no Rockwell graces the White House walls then.

Quaestor said...

Michelangelo's Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel ceiling fresco.

A copy? Not hardly. It's what's known as an homage.

Quaestor said...

Sebastian wrote: I guess no Rockwell graces the White House walls then.

Touché, Sebastian. Oh, surely have been put in my place. You are one astute cookie, Sebastian.

There are also images of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon in the White House currently occupied by Barack and Michelle. You may freely interpret that fact as well.

Theodore James said...

Art criticism is a very strange thing.

At its best it has the lingering whiff of a runny cheese.

At its worst it smells like bullsh*t.

Rockwell was a very good illustrator and his critics were jealous of his talent.

His most ardent critics were big supporters of abstract expressionism and deplored his Americana.

Pollack was a fraud foisted on the American art scene by the same people who disparaged Rockwell.

Rockwell satirized them with his illustration titled "The Connoisseur".

Rockwell wins.

Quaestor said...

By 1943 riveted construction of tanks and ships had largely given way to welded construction; I wonder why Rosie the Riveter didn't likewise give way to Wendy the Welder.

Riveting on aircraft was a different matter. Those small pneumatic rivet guns used plants run by Boeing, Chance-Vought, Grumman, and others just didn't evoke sweat like that massive Boyer priapus Rosie holds across her lap.

Bay Area Guy said...

I would take one Rosie the Riveter over every single student in every single "Women's Studies" Department in every major University in the country.

OldGrouchyCranky said...

CC and Q and others like them: While Rosie the R might not have been any one specifically, such women worked during WWII. Women helped run our many war defense plants churning out large quantities of planes, tanks, ships, firearms, packaged foods, medical supplies, everything needed to run a wartime economy and to keep our military fighting. Plus also doing those jobs needed to keep the civilian side running too.

I've been told that many women were well aware that after the war, the men fighting that war would come back and take back their jobs. That experience of working fulltime, putting food on the table, earning good sized wages, made this into a vastly different country and indeed paved the way for the cultural revolutions we experienced in the 1960s, 1970s, and well beyond.

So, belittle all you wish the efforts of all those Rosies but they made one heck of a difference; where we are today.

CC and Q: you all remind me of many who do not know the history of what the USA is and is not. Yet, that's your right to be what you are; your choice; be in peace with yourselves, if you can.

madAsHell said...

She isn't Rosie the Riveter. R the R is a mythical person.

My mother worked at Boeing during the war. She would beg to differ with you.

oh..yeah, you must apologize to her face.

Big Mike said...

@Curious, Rockwell may not have painted a portrait of an actual woman, but World War II saw any number of women driving tractors on the farm while the men in their family were in uniform and women like my mother (note my comment posted only 8 minutes ahead of yours) who took factory jobs that had formerly been thought to be jobs that only men could perform.

@Quaestor, there were female welders. And female farmers, and female riveters. Women in those days weren't the sorry snowflakes of today.

Quaestor said...

Big Mike wrote: @Quaestor, there were female welders. And female farmers, and female riveters. Women in those days weren't the sorry snowflakes of today.

Evidently you completely misconstrued my comment.

Quaestor said...

If one looks for photographs of women actually working in defense plants in the 1940's one will discover that the prevalence of women welders versus women riveters is overwhelming -- hundreds if not thousands of female welders at work, and only a few riveters. There are two reasons for this: 1) Welded joins are stronger than riveted joins and are quicker to fabricate. Consequently the tanks and ships the women were building were designed to minimize or eliminate the use of rivets, therefore fewer jobs for riveters and more for welders. 2) Except for the small aluminum flush rivets used in aircraft of the day which could be set with rivets guns easily usable by anyone of normal strength, setting steel rivets requires the use of a very heavy pneumatic hammer that even a strong man would find challenging to handle. I've look for images of a real "Rosie the Riveter" on the job and have come up mostly dry. I found only one involving the use of a Boyer pneumatic hammer of the type shown in Rockwell's iconic painting. Here it is. These women are working on an M3 Lee medium tank, an early war interim AFV with a riveted hull and a cast turret. Notice that it takes two women to handle that Boyer rivet hammer, close to if not identical to "Rosie the Riveter's" tool. The British used the M3 Grant variant of the tank with a larger cast turret. The M3 Lee/Grant was replaced as quickly as possible by the M4 Sherman medium tank, an AFV that used cast and/or welded parts exclusively. Again I ask why was "Rosie the Riveter" such an icon when "Wendy the Welder" would have been a more true depiction of women working in heavy industry in WWII?

BudBrown said...

Maybe she should be on the $20 bill.

tim in vermont said...

You have to see a Norman Rockwell painting in person to appreciate him as an artist, or at least I did.

OldGrouchyCranky said...

Apropos of nothing (Perhaps!): USA populations per our Census, as found via Google:
1940 132.1 million
1945 139.9 million.

Then with a total military of all those who served during WII of 16 million, it's truly a wonder that we didn't have to farm out USA production to Venezuela! ./end snark.

Having over 10 percent in the military meant if women didn't work in the factories, the children would have had to (That didn't happen) so I had a "normal" childhood as did those other Yanks my age. The 16-million figure was the sum of all those who served in WWII, not the total at any one time.

Curious George said...

"OldGrouchyCranky said...
CC and Q and others like them: While Rosie the R might not have been any one specifically, such women worked during WWII. Women helped run our many war defense plants churning out large quantities of planes, tanks, ships, firearms, packaged foods, medical supplies, everything needed to run a wartime economy and to keep our military fighting. Plus also doing those jobs needed to keep the civilian side running too.

I've been told that many women were well aware that after the war, the men fighting that war would come back and take back their jobs. That experience of working fulltime, putting food on the table, earning good sized wages, made this into a vastly different country and indeed paved the way for the cultural revolutions we experienced in the 1960s, 1970s, and well beyond.

So, belittle all you wish the efforts of all those Rosies but they made one heck of a difference; where we are today.

CC and Q: you all remind me of many who do not know the history of what the USA is and is not. Yet, that's your right to be what you are; your choice; be in peace with yourselves, if you can."

You, and others before you, have completely invented my position. I have not down played what women did in WWII, nor what R the R represents. I just said that some woman who modeled for the artist who came up with the a fictional figure who represents women workers is in no way an icon. Rosie the Riveter is iconic. The model, no.

Clear enough you fucking twit?

OldGrouchyCranky said...

Ah, CG, so you do have feelings? Fascinating, eh!

Big Mike said...

@Quaestor, sorry 'bout that, chief.

bridgecross said...

Feminazi bullhockey

Quaestor said...

@OldGrouchyCranky, you should add ComprehensionImpaired to your handle.

Quaestor said...
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OldGrouchyCranky said...
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