Painting America: The Art of Norman Rockwell

Painting America: The Art of Norman Rockwell


Norman Rockwell was born in 1894 in New York City. At the age of 17, he became the official artist for Boys Life Magazine and at 22, created his first cover for Saturday Evening Post, a relationship that would last the next 47 years. There are very few painters like Rockwell, Rockwell being the only one from America that chronicled the 20th century the way he did. His idealized family life put a smile on everyone’s face. We’re looking at an artist that, interesting enough, not only chronicled the first automobile and the first airplane, but as well the flight into space. We’re looking at so many advancements in human achievement over the course of the 20th century that were illustrated by Norman Rockwell and his so very iconic style. Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post illustrations were particularly optimistic, and, when you look at what’s going on at the time, Rockwell was painting through the Great Depression, he was painting through World War II. These were times where the American people had to come together and unite as one, and Rockwell was right there at the forefronts really making that happen for the American people through his imagery. Rockwell would work with oil on canvas along with oil on board. He Illustrated nearly 40 books and
created some 4,000 paintings in his career. Prior to Norman Rockwell, you had
illustration and you had fine art, and it was like oil and water in the art world. Rockwell was able to bridge that gap and create works of art that were not only illustrations, but recognized years later as fine art. Through his work, Norman Rockwell put us at the Thanksgiving table, put us in the grandstands at baseball games, and allowed us to witness everyday American life through his lens, and his work continues to inspire artists to this day.

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