An iconic painting that has most recently been on display at the White House was transported by truck from Washington this week and uncrated Tuesday morning at the Dayton Art Institute.
“The Problem We All Live With” depicts a young African-American girl on her way to school accompanied by four federal agents. On the wall behind her are racial slurs and tomato stains.
The famous image, inspired by a real-life incident, will be a highlight of “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell,” the exhibit that opens Nov. 12 at the DAI. The traveling exhibit was organized by the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.
The inspiration for Rockwell’s painting came from Ruby Bridges’ historic walk integrating the William Franz Public School in New Orleans on Nov. 14, 1960. The incident took place six years after the landmark 1954 United States Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education ruling declaring that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students were unconstitutional.
Rockwell’s famous painting appeared ion the cover of Look magazine on Jan. 14, 1964.
“It is really unbelievably moving,” said DAI education director Susan Anable, who was gazing at the painting after it had been carefully removed from a large navy crate, transported by dolly, and hung on the gallery wall. “It feels like it could be happening in front of our eyes. That tomato splatter looks like someone just threw it.”