Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell

Overview
Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture
Culture of the United States
The Culture of the United States is a Western culture originally influenced by European cultures. It has been developing since long before the United States became a country with its own unique social and cultural characteristics such as dialect, music, arts, social habits, cuisine, and folklore...

. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

magazine for more than four decades. Among the best-known of Rockwell's works are the Willie Gillis
Willie Gillis
Willie Gillis, Jr. is a fictional character created by Norman Rockwell for a series of World War II paintings that appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post . A fictional private, he appeared on a total of eleven Post covers...

series, Rosie the Riveter
Rosie the Riveter
Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military...

(although his Rosie was reproduced less than others of the day), Saying Grace (1951), The Problem We All Live With
The Problem We All Live With
The Problem We All Live With is a 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell. An iconic image of the civil rights movement in the United States, it depicts Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African-American girl, on her way in to an all-white public school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 during the process of...

, and the Four Freedoms
Four Freedoms (Norman Rockwell)
The Four Freedoms or Four Essential Human Freedoms is a series of oil paintings produced in 1943 by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings are approximately equal in dimension with measurements of ×...

series.
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Quotations

Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed. My fundamental purpose is to interpret the typical American. I am a story teller.

I paint life as I would like it to be.

Encyclopedia
Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture
Culture of the United States
The Culture of the United States is a Western culture originally influenced by European cultures. It has been developing since long before the United States became a country with its own unique social and cultural characteristics such as dialect, music, arts, social habits, cuisine, and folklore...

. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

magazine for more than four decades. Among the best-known of Rockwell's works are the Willie Gillis
Willie Gillis
Willie Gillis, Jr. is a fictional character created by Norman Rockwell for a series of World War II paintings that appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post . A fictional private, he appeared on a total of eleven Post covers...

series, Rosie the Riveter
Rosie the Riveter
Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military...

(although his Rosie was reproduced less than others of the day), Saying Grace (1951), The Problem We All Live With
The Problem We All Live With
The Problem We All Live With is a 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell. An iconic image of the civil rights movement in the United States, it depicts Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African-American girl, on her way in to an all-white public school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 during the process of...

, and the Four Freedoms
Four Freedoms (Norman Rockwell)
The Four Freedoms or Four Essential Human Freedoms is a series of oil paintings produced in 1943 by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings are approximately equal in dimension with measurements of ×...

series. He is also noted for his work for the Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

 (BSA); producing covers for their publication Boys' Life
Boys' Life
Boys' Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America . Its targeted readership is young American males between the ages of 6 and 18.Boys' Life is published in two demographic editions...

, calendars, and other illustrations.

Early life


Norman Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894, in New York City to Jarvis Waring Rockwell and Anne Mary "Nancy" (née Hill) Rockwell. His earliest American ancestor was John Rockwell (1588–1662), from Somerset
Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

, England, who immigrated to America probably in 1635 aboard the ship Hopewell and became one of the first settlers of Windsor, Connecticut
Windsor, Connecticut
Windsor is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States, and was the first English settlement in the state. It lies on the northern border of Connecticut's capital, Hartford. The population was estimated at 28,778 in 2005....

. He had one brother, Jarvis Waring Rockwell, Jr., older by a year and half. Jarvis Waring, Sr., was the manager of the New York office of a Philadelphia textile firm, George Wood, Sons & Company, where he spent his entire career.

Norman transferred from high school to the Chase Art School at the age of 14. He then went on to the National Academy of Design
National Academy of Design
The National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, founded in New York City as the National Academy of Design – known simply as the "National Academy" – is an honorary association of American artists founded in 1825 by Samuel F. B. Morse, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Cole, Martin E...

 and finally to the Art Students League
Art Students League of New York
The Art Students League of New York is an art school located on West 57th Street in New York City. The League has historically been known for its broad appeal to both amateurs and professional artists, and has maintained for over 130 years a tradition of offering reasonably priced classes on a...

. There, he was taught by Thomas Fogarty
Thomas Fogarty
Thomas Fogarty , is a professor of surgery at Stanford University. He is also an inventor of medical devices and a vintner.-Background:...

, George Bridgman
George Bridgman
George Brant Bridgman was a Canadian-American painter, writer, and teacher in the fields of anatomy and figure drawing. Bridgman taught anatomy for artists at the Art Students League of New York for some 45 years....

, and Frank Vincent DuMond
Frank DuMond
Frank Vincent DuMond was an American Impressionist painter born in Rochester, New York. He taught at the Art Students League of New York for more than 50 years, until his death in 1951. His students included Charles Hawthorne, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Marin, Andrew Loomis, Norman Rockwell, Frank J....

; his early works were produced for St. Nicholas Magazine
St. Nicholas Magazine
St. Nicholas Magazine was a popular children's magazine, founded by Scribner's in 1873. The first editor was Mary Mapes Dodge, who continued her association with the magazine until her death in 1905. Dodge published work by the country's best writers, including Louisa May Alcott, Francis Hodgson...

, the Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

 (BSA) publication Boys' Life
Boys' Life
Boys' Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America . Its targeted readership is young American males between the ages of 6 and 18.Boys' Life is published in two demographic editions...

and other juvenile publications. Joseph Csatari
Joseph Csatari
Joseph Csatari is an internationally acclaimed realist portrait artist, watercolorist and illustrator who has painted both the famous and the familiar in American life for more than fifty years. He honed his unique talent for realism by working with his mentor Norman Rockwell for eight years...

 carried on his legacy and style for the BSA.

As a student, Rockwell was given smaller, less important jobs. His first major breakthrough came in 1912 at age eighteen with his first book illustration for Carl Harry Claudy's Tell Me Why: Stories about Mother Nature.

In 1913, the nineteen-year old Rockwell became the art editor for Boys' Life
Boys' Life
Boys' Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America . Its targeted readership is young American males between the ages of 6 and 18.Boys' Life is published in two demographic editions...

, published by the Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

, a post he held for three years (1913–1916). As part of that position, he painted several covers, beginning with his first published magazine cover, Scout at Ship's Wheel, appearing on the Boys' Life
Boys' Life
Boys' Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America . Its targeted readership is young American males between the ages of 6 and 18.Boys' Life is published in two demographic editions...

September 1913 edition.

World War I


During the First World War, he tried to enlist into the U.S. Navy but was refused entry because, at 6 feet (1.83 m) tall and 140 pounds (64 kg), he was eight pounds underweight. To compensate, he spent one night gorging himself on bananas, liquids and doughnuts, and weighed enough to enlist the next day. However, he was given the role of a military artist and did not see any action during his tour of duty.
Rockwell's family moved to New Rochelle
New Rochelle, New York
New Rochelle is a city in Westchester County, New York, United States, in the southeastern portion of the state.The town was settled by refugee Huguenots in 1688 who were fleeing persecution in France...

, New York when Norman was 21 years old and shared a studio with the cartoonist
Cartoonist
A cartoonist is a person who specializes in drawing cartoons. This work is usually humorous, mainly created for entertainment, political commentary or advertising...

 Clyde Forsythe, who worked for The Saturday Evening Post. With Forsythe's help, he submitted his first successful cover painting to the Post in 1916, Mother's Day Off (published on May 20). He followed that success with Circus Barker and Strongman (published on June 3), Gramps at the Plate (August 5), Redhead Loves Hatty Perkins (September 16), People in a Theatre Balcony (October 14) and Man Playing Santa (December 9). Rockwell was published eight times total on the Post cover within the first twelve months. Norman Rockwell published a total of 322 original covers for The Saturday Evening Post over 47 years. His Sharp Harmony appeared on the cover of the issue dated September 26, 1936; depicts a barber and three clients, enjoying an a cappella song. The image was adopted by SPEBSQSA in its promotion of the art.

Rockwell's success on the cover of the Post led to covers for other magazines of the day, most notably The Literary Digest
Literary Digest
The Literary Digest was an influential general interest weekly magazine published by Funk & Wagnalls. Founded by Isaac Kaufmann Funk in 1890, it eventually merged with two similar weekly magazines, Public Opinion and Current Opinion.-History:...

, The Country Gentleman
Country Gentleman
Country Gentleman was an agricultural magazine founded in 1831 in Rochester, NY by Luther Tucker. The magazine was purchased by Curtis Publishing Company in 1911. Curtis redirected the magazine to address the business side of farming, which was largely ignored by the agricultural magazines of the...

, Leslie's Weekly
Frank Leslie's Weekly
Frank Leslie's Weekly, later often known in short as Leslie's Weekly, was an American illustrated literary and news magazine founded in 1852 and continuing publication well into the 20th century. As implied by its name, it was published weekly, on Tuesdays. Its first editor was John Y. Foster...

, Judge, Peoples Popular Monthly and Life Magazine
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

.

Personal life


Rockwell married his first wife, Irene O'Connor, in 1916. Irene was Rockwell's model in Mother Tucking Children into Bed, published on the cover of The Literary Digest
Literary Digest
The Literary Digest was an influential general interest weekly magazine published by Funk & Wagnalls. Founded by Isaac Kaufmann Funk in 1890, it eventually merged with two similar weekly magazines, Public Opinion and Current Opinion.-History:...

on January 19, 1921. However, the couple were divorced in 1930. Depressed, he moved briefly to Alhambra, California
Alhambra, California
Alhambra is a city located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, United States, which is approximately eight miles from the Downtown Los Angeles civic center. As of the 2010 census, the population was 83,089, down from 85,804 at the 2000 census. The city's...

 as a guest of his old friend Clyde Forsythe. There he painted some of his best-known paintings including "The Doctor and the Doll". While there he met and married schoolteacher Mary Barstow. The couple returned to New York shortly after their marriage. They had three children: Jarvis Waring, Thomas Rhodes
Thomas Rockwell
Thomas Rhodes Rockwell is the author of a number of books for young readers. He was the recipient of the Mark Twain Award, the California Young Reader Medal, and the Sequoyah Book Award for How to Eat Fried Worms, which was made into a TV movie in 1985 and was filmed as a theatrical release in 2006...

 and Peter Barstow. The family lived at 24 Lord Kitchener Road in the Bonnie Crest neighborhood of New Rochelle, New York. Rockwell and his wife were not very religious, although they were members of St. John's Wilmot Church
St. John's Wilmot Church (New Rochelle, New York)
St.John's Wilmot Church is an Episcopal parish in New Rochelle, New York.The church is located at the intersection of North Avenue and Wilmot Road, it was built as a "chapel of ease" for people who found it too difficult to travel five miles to Trinity Church on the southern end of town. ...

, an Episcopal
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 church near their home, and had their sons baptized there as well. Rockwell moved to Arlington, Vermont, in 1939 where his work began to reflect small-town life.

In 1953, the Rockwell family moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Stockbridge is a town in Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,947 at the 2010 census...

, so that his wife could be treated at the Austen Riggs Center
Austen Riggs Center
The Austen Riggs Center is a psychiatric treatment facility founded in 1913 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.-Founding – 1946:A New York City internist who repaired to the bucolic countryside of Stockbridge while suffering from tuberculosis, Austen Fox Riggs developed an innovative treatment regimen...

, a psychiatric hospital at 25 Main Street, down Main Street from where Rockwell set up his studio. Rockwell himself received psychiatric treatment from the renowned analyst Erik Erikson
Erik Erikson
Erik Erikson was a Danish-German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings. He may be most famous for coining the phrase identity crisis. His son, Kai T...

, who was on staff at Riggs. Erikson is said to have told the artist that he painted his happiness, but did not live it. In 1959, Mary Barstow Rockwell died unexpectedly of a heart attack. In 1961, Rockwell married Molly Punderson, a retired teacher.

World War II



In 1943, during the Second World War, Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms
Four Freedoms (Norman Rockwell)
The Four Freedoms or Four Essential Human Freedoms is a series of oil paintings produced in 1943 by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings are approximately equal in dimension with measurements of ×...

series, which was completed in seven months and resulted in his losing 15 pounds. The series was inspired by a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, in which he described four principles
Four Freedoms
The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech , he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy:# Freedom of speech and expression# Freedom of worship#...

 for universal rights: Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, and Freedom from Fear. The paintings were published in 1943 by The Saturday Evening Post. The United States Department of the Treasury later promoted war bond
War bond
War bonds are debt securities issued by a government for the purpose of financing military operations during times of war. War bonds generate capital for the government and make civilians feel involved in their national militaries...

s by exhibiting the originals in 16 cities. Rockwell himself considered "Freedom of Speech" to be the best of the four. That same year a fire in his studio destroyed numerous original paintings, costumes, and props.

Shortly after the war, Rockwell was contacted by writer Elliott Caplin, brother of cartoonist Al Capp
Al Capp
Alfred Gerald Caplin , better known as Al Capp, was an American cartoonist and humorist best known for the satirical comic strip Li'l Abner. He also wrote the comic strips Abbie an' Slats and Long Sam...

, with the suggestion that the three of them should make a daily comic strip
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

 together, with Caplin and his brother writing and Rockwell drawing. King Features Syndicate is reported to have promised a $1,000/week deal, knowing that a Capp-Rockwell collaboration would gain strong public interest. However, the project was ultimately aborted as it turned out that Rockwell, known for his perfectionism as an artist, could not deliver material as fast as required of him for a daily comic strip.

During the late 1940s, Norman Rockwell spent the winter months as artist-in-residence at Otis College of Art and Design
Otis College of Art and Design
Otis College of Art and Design is an art and design college in Los Angeles, California.The school's programs, accredited by WASC and National Association of Schools of Art and Design, include four-year BFA degrees in illustration, fine arts, graphic design, architecture, landscape design, interior...

. Students occasionally were models for his Saturday Evening Post covers. In 1949, Rockwell donated an original Post cover, "April Fool," to be raffled off in a library fund raiser.

In 1959, his wife Mary died unexpectedly, and Rockwell took time off from his work to grieve. It was during this break that he and his son Thomas produced his autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, which was published in 1960. The Post printed excerpts from this book in eight consecutive issues, the first containing Rockwell's famous Triple Self-Portrait.

Later career



Rockwell married his third wife, retired Milton Academy
Milton Academy
Milton Academy is a coeducational, independent preparatory, boarding and day school in Milton, Massachusetts consisting of a grade 9–12 Upper School and a grade K–8 Lower School. Boarding is offered starting in 9th grade...

 English teacher, Molly Punderson, in 1961. His last painting for the Post was published in 1963, marking the end of a publishing relationship that had included 322 cover paintings. He spent the next 10 years painting for Look magazine
Look (American magazine)
Look was a bi-weekly, general-interest magazine published in Des Moines, Iowa from 1937 to 1971, with more of an emphasis on photographs than articles...

, where his work depicted his interests in civil rights, poverty and space exploration.
In 1968 Rockwell was commissioned to do an album cover portrait of Mike Bloomfield
Mike Bloomfield
Michael Bernard "Mike" Bloomfield was an American musician, guitarist, and composer, born in Chicago, Illinois, who became one of the first popular music superstars of the 1960s to earn his reputation almost entirely on his instrumental prowess, since he rarely sang before 1969–70...

 and Al Kooper
Al Kooper
Al Kooper is an American songwriter, record producer and musician, known for organizing Blood, Sweat & Tears , providing studio support for Bob Dylan when he went electric in 1965, and also bringing together guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills to...

 for their record, The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper
The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper
Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper is a double album documenting performances from two of blues-rock's most notable American musicians of the late 1960s...

. During his long career, he was commissioned to paint the portraits for Presidents Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

, and Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, as well as those of foreign figures, including Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 and Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

. One of his last works was a portrait of Judy Garland
Judy Garland
Judy Garland was an American actress and singer. Through a career that spanned 45 of her 47 years and for her renowned contralto voice, she attained international stardom as an actress in musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist and on the concert stage...

 in 1969.

A custodianship of his original paintings and drawings was established with Rockwell's help near his home in Stockbridge
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Stockbridge is a town in Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,947 at the 2010 census...

, Massachusetts, and the Norman Rockwell Museum
Norman Rockwell Museum
The Norman Rockwell Museum is home to the world's largest collection of original Rockwell art.-History:Founded in 1969, the museum is located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where Rockwell lived the last 25 years of his life. The museum has been at its current location since 1993. The museum...

 is still open today year round. Norman Rockwell Museum is the authoritative source for all things Norman Rockwell. The Museum's collection is the world's largest, including more than 700 original Rockwell paintings, drawings, and studies. The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies at the Norman Rockwell Museum is a national research institute dedicated to American illustration art.

When he was concerned with his health he placed his studio and the contents with the Norman Rockwell Museum, which was formerly known as the Stockbridge Historical society and even more formerly known as the Old Corner house, in a trust.

For "vivid and affectionate portraits of our country," Rockwell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the United States of America's highest civilian honor, in 1977.

Rockwell died November 8, 1978 of emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed. It is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary...

 at age 84 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. First Lady Rosalynn Carter
Rosalynn Carter
Eleanor Rosalynn Carter is the wife of the former President of the United States Jimmy Carter and in that capacity served as the First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981. As First Lady and after, she has been a leading advocate for numerous causes, perhaps most prominently for mental...

 attended his funeral.

Body of work


Norman Rockwell was a prolific artist, producing over 4,000 original works in his lifetime. Most of his works are either in public collections, or have been destroyed in fire or other misfortunes. Rockwell was also commissioned to illustrate over 40 books including Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the Town of "St...

and Huckleberry Finn. His annual contributions for the Boy Scouts' calendars between 1925 and 1976 (Rockwell was a 1939 recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award
Silver Buffalo Award
The Silver Buffalo Award is the national-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. It is presented for noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth on a national basis, either as part of, or independent of the Scouting program...

, the highest adult award given by the Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

), were only slightly overshadowed by his most popular of calendar works: the "Four Seasons" illustrations for Brown & Bigelow
Brown & Bigelow
Brown & Bigelow is a publishing company based in Saint Paul, Minnesota that produces advertising specialties, or promotional products, such as clocks, pens, cocktail spoons with corkscrew and cap-lifter, and advertising calendars...

 that were published for 17 years beginning in 1947 and reproduced in various styles and sizes since 1964. Illustrations for booklets, catalogs, posters (particularly movie promotions), sheet music, stamps, playing cards, and murals (including "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "God Bless the Hills", which was completed in 1936 for the Nassau Inn in Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is a community located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is best known as the location of Princeton University, which has been sited in the community since 1756...

) rounded out Rockwell's œuvre as an illustrator.

In 1969, as a tribute to Rockwell's 75th year birthday, officials of Brown & Bigelow and the Boy Scouts of America asked Rockwell to pose in Beyond the Easel, the calendar illustration that year.

Rockwell's work was dismissed by serious art critics in his lifetime. Many of his works appear overly sweet in modern critics' eyes, especially the Saturday Evening Post covers, which tend toward idealistic or sentimentalized portrayals of American life— this has led to the often-deprecatory adjective "Rockwellesque." Consequently, Rockwell is not considered a "serious painter" by some contemporary artists, who often regard his work as bourgeois and kitsch
Kitsch
Kitsch is a form of art that is considered an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value. The concept is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icons while making cheap mass-produced objects that...

. Writer Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a multilingual Russian novelist and short story writer. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist...

 sneered that Rockwell's brilliant technique was put to "banal" use, and wrote in his book Pnin
Pnin
Pnin is Vladimir Nabokov's 13th novel and his fourth written in English; it was published in 1957.-Plot summary:The book's eponymous protagonist, Timofey Pavlovich Pnin, is a Russian-born professor living in the United States...

: "That Dalí
Salvador Dalí
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

 is really Norman Rockwell's twin brother kidnapped by Gypsies in babyhood". He is called an "illustrator" instead of an artist by some critics, a designation he did not mind, as it was what he called himself.
However, in his later years, Rockwell began receiving more attention as a painter when he chose more serious subjects such as the series on racism for Look magazine
Look (American magazine)
Look was a bi-weekly, general-interest magazine published in Des Moines, Iowa from 1937 to 1971, with more of an emphasis on photographs than articles...

. One example of this more serious work is The Problem We All Live With
The Problem We All Live With
The Problem We All Live With is a 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell. An iconic image of the civil rights movement in the United States, it depicts Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African-American girl, on her way in to an all-white public school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 during the process of...

, which dealt with the issue of school racial integration
Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation . In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely...

. The painting depicts a young African American girl, Ruby Bridges
Ruby Bridges
Ruby Nell Bridges Hall moved with her parents to New Orleans, Louisiana at the age of 4. In 1960, when she was 6 years old, her parents responded to a call from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and volunteered her to participate in the integration of the New Orleans...

, flanked by white federal marshals
United States Marshals Service
The United States Marshals Service is a United States federal law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice . The office of U.S. Marshal is the oldest federal law enforcement office in the United States; it was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789...

, walking to school past a wall defaced by racist graffiti.

In 1999, The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

art critic Peter Schjeldahl said of Rockwell in ArtNews: “Rockwell is terrific. It’s become too tedious to pretend he isn’t.”

Rockwell's work was exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a well-known museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States. It is the permanent home to a renowned collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions...

 in 2001. Rockwell's Breaking Home Ties sold for $15.4 million at a 2006 Sotheby’s auction. A twelve-city U.S. tour of Rockwell's works took place in 2008.

Influence


  • In the film Empire of the Sun
    Empire of the Sun (film)
    Empire of the Sun is a 1987 American coming of age war film based on J. G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Steven Spielberg directed the film, which stars Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, and Nigel Havers...

    , a young boy (played by Christian Bale
    Christian Bale
    Christian Charles Philip Bale is an English actor. Best known for his roles in American films, Bale has starred in both big budget Hollywood films and the smaller projects from independent producers and art houses....

    ), is put to bed by his loving parents in a scene also inspired by a Rockwell painting—a reproduction of which is later kept by the young boy during his captivity in a prison camp. (Freedom from Fear, 1943).
  • The 1994 film Forrest Gump
    Forrest Gump
    Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic comedy-drama romance film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise...

    includes a shot in a school that re-creates Rockwell's "Girl with Black Eye" with young Forrest in place of the girl. Much of the film drew heavy visual inspiration from Rockwell's art.
  • Film director George Lucas
    George Lucas
    George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

     owns Rockwell's original of The Peach Crop, and his colleague Steven Spielberg
    Steven Spielberg
    Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

     owns a sketch of Rockwell's Triple Self-Portrait. Each of the artworks hangs in the respective filmmakers' workspaces. Rockwell is a major character in an episode of Lucas’ Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, “Passion for Life.”
  • In 2005, Target Co. sold Marshall Field's
    Marshall Field's
    Marshall Field & Company was a department store in Chicago, Illinois that grew to become a major chain before being acquired by Macy's Inc...

     to Federated Department Stores
    Federated Department Stores
    Macy's, Inc. is a department store holding company and owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's department stores. Macy's Inc.'s stores specialize mostly in retail clothing, jewelery, watches, dinnerware, and furniture....

     and the Federated discovered a reproduction of Rockwell's The Clock Mender, which depicted the great clocks of the Marshall Field and Company Building
    Marshall Field and Company Building
    Marshall Field and Company Building or Macy's at State Street is the former flagship location of the former Marshall Field's department store and the current location of the Chicago flagship of Macy's...

     on display. Rockwell had donated the painting depicted on the cover of the November 3, 1945 Saturday Evening Post to the store in 1948.
  • On Norman Rockwell's birthday, February 3, 2010, Google featured Rockwell's iconic image of young love "Boy and Girl Gazing at the Moon" which is also known as "Puppy Love" on its home page. The response was so great that day that the Norman Rockwell museum's servers went down under the onslaught.
  • "Dreamland," a track from Canadian alternative rock
    Alternative rock
    Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

     band Our Lady Peace
    Our Lady Peace
    Our Lady Peace is a Canadian alternative rock band that formed in Toronto, Ontario in 1992. Headed by lead vocalist Raine Maida since its formation, the band additionally consists of Jeremy Taggart on percussion, Duncan Coutts on bass, and Steve Mazur as lead guitarist...

    's 2009 album Burn Burn
    Burn Burn (album)
    Burn Burn is the seventh and most recent studio album by Canadian alternative rock band Our Lady Peace, released in North America on July 21, 2009...

    , was inspired by Rockwell's paintings.

List of major works

  • Scout at Ship's Wheel (first published magazine cover illustration, Boys' Life
    Boys' Life
    Boys' Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America . Its targeted readership is young American males between the ages of 6 and 18.Boys' Life is published in two demographic editions...

    , September 1913)
  • Santa and Scouts in Snow (1913)
  • Boy and Baby Carriage (1916; first Saturday Evening Post cover)
  • Circus Barker and Strongman (1916)
  • Gramps at the Plate (1916)
  • Redhead Loves Hatty Perkins (1916)
  • People in a Theatre Balcony (1916)
  • Tain't You (1917; first Life magazine
    Life (magazine)
    Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

     cover)
  • Cousin Reginald Goes to the Country (1917; first Country Gentleman
    Country Gentleman
    Country Gentleman was an agricultural magazine founded in 1831 in Rochester, NY by Luther Tucker. The magazine was purchased by Curtis Publishing Company in 1911. Curtis redirected the magazine to address the business side of farming, which was largely ignored by the agricultural magazines of the...

    cover)
  • Santa and Expense Book (1920)
  • Mother Tucking Children into Bed (1921; first wife Irene is the model)

  • No Swimming (1921)
  • Santa with Elves (1922)
  • Doctor and Doll (1929)
  • Deadline (1938)
  • The Four Freedoms
    Four Freedoms (Norman Rockwell)
    The Four Freedoms or Four Essential Human Freedoms is a series of oil paintings produced in 1943 by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings are approximately equal in dimension with measurements of ×...

    (1943)
    • Freedom of Speech (1943)
    • Freedom to Worship (1943)
    • Freedom from Want (1943)
    • Freedom from Fear (1943)
  • Rosie the Riveter
    Rosie the Riveter
    Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military...

    (1943) http://www.rosietheriveter.org/painting.htm
  • Going and Coming (1947)
  • Bottom of the Sixth (or The Three Umpires; 1949)
  • Saying Grace (1951)
  • The Young Lady with the Shiner (1953)
  • Girl at Mirror (1954)
  • Breaking Home Ties
    Breaking Home Ties
    Breaking Home Ties was painted by Norman Rockwell for the September 25, 1954 cover of The Saturday Evening Post.-Description:The details of the picture, as with most Norman Rockwell works, combine to tell a story, in this case a story of endings and beginnings, as a boy from New Mexico leaves home...

    (1954)
  • The Marriage License (1955)
  • The Scoutmaster (1956)
  • The Runaway (1958)
  • Triple Self-Portrait (1960)
  • Golden Rule (1961)
  • The Problem We All Live With
    The Problem We All Live With
    The Problem We All Live With is a 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell. An iconic image of the civil rights movement in the United States, it depicts Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African-American girl, on her way in to an all-white public school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 during the process of...

    (1964)
  • Southern Justice (Murder in Mississippi) (1965) http://www.artchive.com/artchive/R/rockwell/rockwell_mississippi.jpg.html
  • New Kids in the Neighborhood (1967)
  • Russian Schoolroom (1967)
  • The Rookie
  • Spirit of 76 (1976) (stolen in 1978 but recovered in 2001 by the FBI's Robert King Wittman
    Robert King Wittman
    Robert King "Bob" Wittman is a highly decorated Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent who was assigned to the Philadelphia Field Division from 1988 to 2008. As a result of specialized training in art, antiques, jewelry and gem identification, Wittman served as the FBI's "top investigator...

    )

See also


  • James K. Van Brunt
    James K. Van Brunt
    James K. Van Brunt was a model used extensively by illustrator Norman Rockwell during the 1920sAccording to Norman Rockwell and the Saturday Evening Post: The Early Years, by Starkey Flythe, Jr., Van Brunt entered Rockwell's studio, and proclaimed, "James K. Van Brunt, sir. Five feet two inches...

    , a frequent model for Rockwell
  • Four Freedoms (Norman Rockwell)
    Four Freedoms (Norman Rockwell)
    The Four Freedoms or Four Essential Human Freedoms is a series of oil paintings produced in 1943 by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings are approximately equal in dimension with measurements of ×...

  • Norman Rockwell's World... An American Dream
    Norman Rockwell's World... An American Dream
    Norman Rockwell's World... An American Dream is a 1972 short documentary film directed by Robert Deubel. It won an Academy Award in 1973 for Best Short Subject....

    , a 1972 short documentary film
  • National Museum of American Illustration
    National Museum of American Illustration
    The National Museum of American Illustration , founded in 1998, is the first national museum to be devoted exclusively to American illustration artwork....


External links