Briefly Noted: Spielberg, Lucas, Rockwell


When Steven Spielberg learned that his friend and rival George Lucas owned an original Norman Rockwell, he knew he had only one choice: "I went out and I got a bigger Rockwell!"

"Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell From the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg" contains advertisements, Saturday Evening Post covers, and sketches from the famous filmmakers' personal Rockwell stashes. In print and video commentary accompanying the exhibit—on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., through January 2—Spielberg and Lucas narrate the stories they see in Rockwell's paintings.

As in the collectors' movies, seemingly spontaneous, universal scenes like Boy on a High Dive or Little Girl Looking Downstairs at a Christmas Party are actually the result of meticulous casting, staging, costuming, and scripting. Rockwell was a respected artist who never strayed far from his commercial roots, something to which his filmmaking fans clearly relate and aspire.