Saturday, April 07, 2012

NORMAN ROCKWELL …an American Treasure

No one of my age can forget the covers of “Life” magazine that were so lovingly illustrated by Norman Rockwell from the years 1916 through 1942. There were over 321 of them.

In 2007 I visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in his home town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts and what a treat it was to see the originals. The picture above is a self portrait of the artist faced with the dilemma of a deadline and no idea what to paint. As Rockwell himself explained, “It was in agony of soul that this cover was done.” (I’m sure that many of you bloggers can relate …time to post an entry and your mind goes blank !)

The other picture is the April 24th, 1926 cover. The poor little dog is being ignored by his master and seems very sad about the whole affair. Just another of his paintings that will tug at your heartstrings.

Rockwell started his career at the age of 18 when he became art editor of “Boy’s Life”, the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. When he was 22 one of his paintings appeared on the cover of “The Saturday Evening Post” and his career was launched.

There are those who will argue that Norman Rockwell paintings are not “great art” but I contend that his popularity is well deserved. He was a painter for, and of, the commonplace and his works could be seen across America in books, advertisements, calendars and on the covers of popular magazines such as the “Saturday Evening Post”, “Look”, and “Ladies’ Home Journal”.

He loved the ordinary people and he was very concerned with the big issues such as racism, poverty and social injustice and he put his paint brush where his interests lay.

Sadly the Norman Rockwell lifestyle may be gone, if it ever really existed, (??), but his paintings will be with us forever.


Anonymous schmidleysscribblins, said...

What a nice tribute to a former Scout. Timely too, as the Girl Scouts are celebrating their anniversary.

The Post relates this morning that the most successful women in the US are former Scouts. But of course. Dianne

9:52 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I am in complete agreement that Nirman Rockwell portrayed everyday life better than any American artist before or since.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Thanks for the post. He was before my time, but, of course, everybody knows Rockwell to some degree.

7:13 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Well, I included Rockwell when I taught art history. Sure, he could be cartoonish, but so what? It was HIS art, HIS style, and if the pseudo-intellectuals didn't like him yet paid tribute to someone who dribbled paint off a ladder, well, so be it.
Art is Art is Art...... he was highly skilled and brought pleasure to millions. That's enough for me!
Good post!

5:18 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

Nice post. I have always loved his art. His "Four Freedoms" is my favorite.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Even as a Canadian I knew and liked Normal Rockwell. We got our faulty views of the US from his work.

I know Stockbridge. It is a truly lovely Norman Rockwell type of town. Is it not the home of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant?" of hippie days of yore?

1:56 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

I think that he did have talent. He had a recognizable style.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

I've always loved Norman Rockwell. It's artwork was so real!
Love Di ♥

4:05 AM  

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