Sunday, February 4, 2018

Norman Rockwell

I remember going through my grandparent's old copies of Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines down in the basement and marveling at the wonderful illustrations. Rockwell was the crowing glory of the golden age of magazine illustration. 

Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was a 20th-century American author, painter and illustrator. His works have a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine over nearly five decades.  Among the best-known of Rockwell's works are the Willie Gillis series, Rosie the Riveter, The Problem We All Live With, Saying Grace, and the Four Freedoms series. He also is noted for his 64-year relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), during which he produced covers for their publication Boys' Life, calendars, and other illustrations. These works include popular images that reflect the Scout Oath and Scout Law such as The Scoutmaster, A Scout is Reverent and A Guiding Hand, among many others.

Freedom of Speech
Freedom from Want
Yet Rockwell was no more a man of simple vision than he was the house artist of the right wing. While his approach was calculatedly upbeat, it was never shallow or jingoistic, and his work, taken as a whole, is a remarkably thoughtful and multifaceted engagement with the question “What does it mean to be an American?” This was implicitly the case in his Post years, when he was painting soldiers and schoolgirls and old codgers playing musical instruments in the back room of a barbershop, and it became explicit in his later period at Look magazine, when he forsook the genial apoliticism of his earlier career for an embrace of J.F.K.-style New Frontiersmanship, devoting himself to pictures about the civil-rights movement, the Peace Corps, and the United Nations.

The problem we all live with.  1964

The Four Freedoms: 

1 comment:

Carla Ives said...

Loved Norman Rockwell, too. My parents and grandparents always had Life magazine laying around. To me, he is the quintessential American painter, albeit from a different era than we seem to live in now. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite work. The ones depicted here are all excellent.