In his 1941 State of the Union address President Roosevelt outlined what he considered four freedoms that distinguish Americans: the freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. Rockwell, determined to help his country, decided to depict these ideas in his art. In his autobiography, the artist stated, “I’ll illustrate the four freedoms using my Vermont neighbors as models. I’ll express the ideas in simple, everyday scenes.”
Richard Sheaff designed the 1994 Rockwell stamp issue and the accompanying four-stamp souvenir sheet which features Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings. These four pieces are considered to be some of Rockwell's best work, and they are popular worldwide. Their popularity made them ideal subjects for stamps honoring the artist. To make the souvenir sheet, Sheaff had to crop some of the paintings to fit them into the stamp.
The “Freedom from Fear” painting lost its bottom section depicting the bedroom floor. The left side of the “Freedom of Speech” painting showing other faces in the audience was removed. Additionally, small sections at the top of the “Freedom of Speech” painting and the “Freedom of Worship” painting were cropped for use on the stamps. The designer also moved Rockwell’s signature around in the four works, assuring that it would be clearly visible. He wanted the artist to receive his deserved commemoration.