Red, white, and blue about Rosie the Riveter Everyone stops to admire the scene Rosie at work on the B-Nineteen She’s never twittery, nervous or jittery Rosie the Riveter What if she’s smeared full of oil and grease Doing her bit for the old Lendlease She keeps the gang around They love to hang around Rosie the Riveter Rosie buys a lot of war bonds That girl really has sense Wishes she could purchase more bonds Putting all her cash into national defense Senator Jones who is “in the know” Shouted these words on the radio Berlin will hear about Moscow will cheer about Rosie the Riveter! _____________________ Paramount Music Corporation, NY,
of Michelangelo’s Isaiah from his Sistine Chapel ceiling painting. The splash in the Star drew a lot more attention to Rockwell’s Rosie. Followers of Rockwell’s illustrations in those years knew well his penchant for touches of humor and satire. In more recent years, reviewers of Rockwell’s Rosie have added their interpretations and observations. “Just as Isaiah was called by God to convert the wicked from their sinful ways and trample evildoers under foot,” wrote one Sotheby’s curator in a May 2002 review, “so Rockwell’s Rosie tramples Hitler under her all-American penny loafer.” Rockwell had used a petite local woman as a model for his Rosie — Mary Doyle (Keefe), then a 19 year-old telephone operator — but he took liberties with her actual proportions to make his Rosie appear as a more powerful, Isaiah-like figure. “Righteousness is described throughout Isaiah’s prophecy as God’s ‘strong right arm’,” continued the Sotheby’s reviewer, “a characterization that must surely have occurred to [Rockwell] as he portrayed Rosie’s muscular forearms.” Rockwell’s Rosie also has a halo floating just above the pushed-back visor on her head. Rockwell had fun with his paintings, using some irreverent humor here and there, but also including the necessary serious messages and patriotic tone. Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post Rosie was widely disseminated during the war. In addition to the magazine’s 3 million-plus circulation, Rockwell’s Rosie was also displayed in other publications, including The Art Digest of July 1, 1943. Rockwell’s “Rosie” was later donated to the U.S. War Loan Drive and briefly went on a public tour. However, Rockwell’s image of Rosie might have enjoyed an even wider circulation had it not been for the actions of the magazine’s publisher, Curtis Publishing. In 1943, Curtis initially used the phrase “Rosie the Riveter” on posters it distributed to news dealers advertising the forthcoming Post issue with Rockwell’s painting on the cover. However, according to author Penny Colman, within a few days, Curtis sent telegrams to the news dealers ordering them to destroy the poster and return a notarized statement attesting to the fact that they had. Curtis issued its retraction because it feared being sued for copyright infringement of the recently released song “Rosie the Riveter.” Rockwell’s painting of Rosie was then donated to the U.S. Treasury Department’s War Loan Drive, and then went on a tour for public display in various cities across the country.
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