(PCM) At the mere mention of Norman Rockwell’s iconic 1943 painting “Rosie The Riveter” people immediately have the image in their heads of a woman sporting a blue work shirt with rolled-up sleeves and a bandanna flexing her arm muscles. Hundreds of variations of the famous painting have been used over the years as nation-wide symbol of women’s independence.
The subject of the original painting was a woman by the name of Mary Doyle Keefe, who has sadly passed away at the age of 92. Her family revealed that Keefe suffered from a brief illness and confirmed her passing in Connecticut.
In a statement the Norman Rockwell museum said “Her image as Rosie the Riveter, which graced a Saturday Evening Post cover in May 1943, “became a symbol for millions of American women who went to work during World War II.”
Keefe was paid the amount of $10 to pose for the painting wearing a blue shirt and loafers. The end result showed her with a rivet gun in her lap, a sandwich in one hand and the words “Mein Kempf” under her feet. According to Keefe, Rockwell liked to paint from photos, so his photographer took several different shots of Keefe in a variety of poses. She doesn’t recall having any type of attitude in particular on her face, but she has since been immortalized in the years that followed.
For the image, Keefe, who was a rather petite 19-year old, was beefed up and given larger biceps, broader shoulders and hand, which Rockwell later apologized for, say he needed to make her “sort of a giant”, however the apology also noted that Rockwell said she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
Our sincere condolences go out to Keefe’s family and friends during this difficult time.