This is the very last museum of my summer tour. I drove to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to specifically visit the home and museum of Norman Rockwell.
Stockbridge is the classic small American town. The museum and the Rockwell studio are in a country setting that could only have inspired the famous illustrationist.
Rockwell is known for the magazine covers of the "Saturday Evening Post."
From Rockwell's first cover in 1916 to his final illustration for The Saturday Evening Post in 1963 the Post published 321 covers of original Rockwell Paintings.
This piece of artwork is at the entrance of the museum and it surprised me--it was so different from the Rockwell illustrations...
...Until I found this. Peter Rockwell is a son of Norman Rockwell and accomplished in his own right.
Anyway, it is an interesting difference in father and son's approaches to art.
"Boy with Baby Carriage 1916
This was Rockwell's very first Saturday Evening Post cover, for which he was paid $75.
"No Swimming", 1921
Upon the urging of a fellow illustrator and friend, Norman Rockwell walked into the Philadelphia headquarters of the Post in early 1916 with two paintings he hoped to have published on the cover of the most widely read publication in the U.S. Editor George Horace Lorimer was so impressed that he immediately purchased the works.
"Boy and Girl gazing at Moon" 1926
As an illustrator, Rockwell struggled with deadlines his entire life. "Meeting deadlines and thinking up ideas are the scourges of an illustrator's life," he said.
"Boy in a Dining Car" 1946
Based on an incident experienced by Rockwell's young son, the boy in the picture is trying to calculate the waiter's tip.
The models for these 'gossips' were all friends and neighbors. Rockwell himself is in the last two frames.
"The Art Critic" 1955
In the corner of the above painting of the girl on the bus:
"to Walt Disney
one of the really great artists--from an admirer
The painting was a gift to Disney and returned to the museum after Walt Disney died.
I could not get over how many of the over 300 paintings or illustrations were familiar to me.
So many of them are part of the memories of growing up...
...for anyone more than 50 years old.
An especially for the townspeople of Stockbridge, Ma. these paintings are a chronicle of the residents, their families and their friends.
The paintings also chronicle our country's history...
"Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms" 1943
"Freedom of Worship"
"Freedom from Want"
"Freedom from Fear"
"Freedom of Speech"
"New Kids in the Neighborhood" (1967) was the third of Rockwell's civil rights pictures for Look Magazine. In his illustration of suburban integration in Chicago's Park Forest community, Rockwell was secure in expressing his philosophy of tolerance.
As a student in the south during the 50's I remember this magazine cover and the effect it had on me. Thank you, Mr. Rockwell. You said it so well.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1963)
(Items in Italics from materials posted at the Museum)