In very sad news, the lady behind perhaps the most famous, empowering portrait of a woman has died. Mary Doyle Keefe was 92 years of age when she passed away at her home in Connecticut. For those who are unfamiliar with her name, Mary once starred as Norman Rockwell‘s ‘Rosie the Riveter’ model back in 1943. The now famous image of a woman posing in her duds first appeared during World War 2 when millions of women stepped out of the home and into the workforce – typically the reserve of men – while their partners were overseas.
(AP Images/ Jim Cole)
Keefe took Rockwell up on his offer of $10 to pose for his painting, a figure that today seems almost laughable when you learn that the original painting was sold for $4.9 million back in 2002.
By the time the iconic image appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, along with the slogan ‘we can do it’, Rosie the Riveter had become a worldwide emblem for female strength. To this day, the image continues to be used and has even been re-appropriated by celebrities such as Beyonce, whose instagram post went viral.
Though Mary is no longer with us, she will forever more be immortalised in this portrait of Rosie the Riveter, which, we suspect, is here to stay.
Hardcore fans can check out the original painting at the Crystal Bridges museum in Arkansas, America, should they ever find themselves in the vicinity.