December 20, 2013



A Wonderful Gift: The NMAI Thanks

Jerry Weiss


James Montgomery Flagg, I Want You for US Army, 1917           Elizabeth Gordon Chandler NA, James Montgomery Flagg, 1951


Jerry Weiss is known particularly for his work as a portrait and landscape artist. Jerry is the son of the notable and famous cartoonist Morris Weiss and inimitable portrait artist Blanche Weiss. Growing up in such an artistic family, he was strongly influenced by his parent's expansive collection of artworks by the Great American Illustrators such as J.C. Leyendecker, Norman Rockwell, James Montgomery Flagg, and N.C. Wyeth, along with many other artists highlighted at the NMAI. Jerry is on the faculty of New York City's renowned Art Student's League, he is a Contributing Editor to The Artist's Magazine, and his works are in collections of the New Britian Museum of Art, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Pfizer Inc., Harvard Club of New York, Brigham and Women's Hopsital of Boston, and he has lectured widely across the USA. Jerry is listed in Who's Who in American Art, and his art hangs in United States Embassies.







Jerry generously gifted a bronze bust of the notable illustrator James Montgomery Flagg to the Museum, sculpted by Elisabeth Gordon Chandler (1913 - 2006), c. 1951. Flagg is a prominently featured artist in our American Imagist Collection, and is best known for his images of Uncle Sam. Flagg used himself as a model for his Uncle Sam images, by adding age and the white goatee to his own face, in lieu of finding a model. Flagg's self portrait is reproduced as Uncle Sam in his most famous of all posters ever published, "I Want You for US Army,"  a WWI United States Army recruitment poster. Likewise, in his painting "Help China!" which is currently hanging in our Library gallery. The bust is also displayed in the Library alongside Flagg's "Help China!" self portrait, so visitors can gaze upon the face of the artist which has been transformed into an instantly recognizable American icon.



                                                                                                                           James Montgomery Flagg, Help China!, 1942


The NMAI graciously thanks Mr. Weiss for this beautiful  addition to the Collection, and also for the educational value it holds for future visitors.



James Montgomery Flagg, Columbia, 1916




A Special Guest from Fern Hill Elementary



NMAI was proud to host a special visitor from West Chester, PA. While we have had many guests arrive by bus, car, plane, and boat, Fern Hill Elementary's "Flat Stanley" was the first visitor to arrive by mail!


"The Flat Stanley Project" originates from a children's book entitled Flat Stanley authored by Jeff Brown and orignally illustrated by Tomi Ungerer. The story follows the adventures of Stanley Lambchop, who was flattened by a bulletin board, but makes light of his situation by traveling by mail to visit people and places around the world. From this story, "The Flat Stanley Project" emerged. Started by Dale Hubert in 1995, this project is similar to a Pen Pal project, where students connect with a participant and then exchange letters. In addition to letters, the students create their own "Flat Stanley" and send him/her on an adventure, which the recipient will respond by recording their time with him/her, and send Stanley back with information and photographs of where he/she has been. This project promotes education and literacy, encouraging students to learn, write, and interact with others from around the world.

Maxfield Parrish                                                                  Mary Jane Begin, Aquastrian Awards Ceremony, (upper) 2013

    A Florentine Fete - Garden of Opportunity, 1912                   Mary Jane Begin, Under the Sparkling Sea (Cover), (lower) 2013


This particular "Flat Stanley" was sent to us by the art students at Fern Hill Elementary after their 2nd grade class read the book Flat Stanley. "Fern Hill Art Stanley" is traveling to teach their students about art and art history. We gave "Fern Hill Art Stanley" a VIP tour of some of the NMAI's most popular works, as well as a lesson on Illustration Art.


To learn more about "The Flat Stanley Project" you can visit their website here.





NMAI Spreads the Visual Words of  Illustration Art



NMAI is always searching for new ways to spread the word of the most American of American art: Illustration Art. Often overlooked, Illustration is a unique  artform in that its expression can be comprehended in a glance without explanation. Illustration is truely a universal art form, as all peoples understand the meaning of a smile or a tear drop, a sunny sky or a rainy day. Its artworks break down barriers between differing races, languages, religions, and creeds, and is a global catayst for mutal understanding. For these reasons, and in the interest of expanding an even greater understanding of our culture which is vividly portrayed by Norman Rockwell, we gift thousands of books such as: Norman Rockwell's America, co-authored by NMAI Founders Judy Goffman Cutler and Laurence S. Cutler, to schools & faculties, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions.



Norman Rockwell's America  -  Gifts for 201​3



Newport  Public Schools and Libraries 

Over 400 copies of this 265 page book abounding with hundreds of Rockwell's most famous works portrayed in color were gifted to every graduating senior, all teaching faculties, and administrators at every Newport Public School, and two copies each to all school libraries in Newport RI.


    "This book shall provide to students and staff a better appreciation of not only Rockwell's work, but the historical perspective that each illustration provides over the span of Rockwell's career"

                                                                                                        - John H. Ambrogi, Ed. D, Superintendent


Boston Museum of Fine Arts

A special feature of MFA's art initiative is the Give the Arts a Chance benefit drawing - the proceeds fund scholarships to students of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as improvements enhancing visitor experience. The NMAI was a prominent underwriter of this challenging effort with great outcome.


       "...thank you for your generous contribution of 100 pairs of tickets to your Museum and 100 copies of the Norman Rockwell's America book...a gift to Give the Arts a Chance...a huge success."

                                                                                                                           - Ann J. Chase, Chair 

                                                                                                                                Give the Arts a Chance                                                                                                                                                    MFA Associates


    Thanks to your generosity, the Associates have given....20,000 volunteer hours...we thank you for helping us help the Museum."

                                                                                                                      - Mary Margaret Graham, Chair

                                                                                                                           Art in Bloom






"Thank you so much for allowing the Cahoon Museum of American Art volunteers to come and participate in a phenomenal tour of the National Museum of American Illustration...the introductory video and our tour guide were just wonderful and gave us all a feeling of the mission and purpose of your museum. We were pleased to see how well the building has been restored because currently we are in the process of restoring our museum main building. I have heard nothing but rave reviews about the trip and how accomodating you all were to our group...thank you again for the opportunity to tour your museum and we all look forward to visiting again in the near future"


                                         - Richard Waterhouse, Director of the Cahoon Museum of American Art, 2013



 We visited last Friday and I want to let you know how impressed we were with Vernon Court, the decor and arrangements, the artwork and display in general...The experience was in every way equal to museums both in the US and abroad. A 1st class museum and show! I will be glad to return and suggest the museum to visitors. A very personal encounter - thank you."


                                                                                                             - Catherine & Ric Gresh, 2013



We had heard of this museum a few years back but had no idea of the scope of art work this place had on exhibit. First of all, the mansion housing these works is very lovely in and of itself. But the arrangement of the artwork amongst the lovely interior was just stunning. Most memorable were the Parrish murals in the garden room. We also enjoyed the film at the beginning talking about Parrish's techniques. The founders of this museum have created a wonderful homage to these illustrators."


                                                                                                - "Ted R" ,, 2013             








Continued due to popular demand through Summer 2014! This exhibition features works from Edith Wharton's notable book, Italian Villas and their Gardens, Edison Mazda Calendar works, and extraordinary examples from each phase of Parrish's oeuvre. NMAI has the largest Maxfield Parrish Collection of original artworks extant, including his largest commission, the Florentine Fete murals, 18 paintings each measuring 10ft 6in tall, and his smallest, The Tallwood Pearl,  a 1 1/2in landscape scene on a Mother of Pearl Button.




Mary Jane Begin's new book My Little Pony: Under the Sparkling Sea, as the title suggests, is a My Little Pony story with an aquatic theme. Her bold and intense use of colors in the underwater environment and nuanced depictions of the facial expressions convey the characters' wonderment at the strange and new world they experience. Illustrations from this book are now on display for viewing and for sale in the Lower Level galleries at the NMAI.



Continuing for the 2014 Summer Season, this exhibition features the illustrative works of Charles Dana Gibson, Harrison Fisher, Howard Chandler Christy, Walter Granville Smith, James Montgomery Flagg, Albert Beck Wenzell, and others of their Gilded Age Illustrator colleagues, each demonstrating their own particular notion of classic American female Beauties.







Earning him the nickname the 'Father of American Illustration', Howard Pyle started the first school for American Illustrators in 1900 named the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art, at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia, later known as the Brandywine School. This exhibition features this Master's work, as well as some of his best known students including N.C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, Violet Oakley and many others.



  Admission:                                                                 Off Season Hours (thru Memorial Day 2014):                           

  Adults: $18                                                                    Friday: 11am - 5pm                         

  Seniors (60+)/Military: $16                                      

  Groups (6 Visitors or more): $15                              

  Students: $12                                                                      

  Children 5 to 12 yrs: $8                                                 

  *Children under 5 not admitted                               


(Guided Tours available at other times by appointment for groups of 6 or more. Call 401.8851.8949 ext. 18 for more information)



The National Museum of American Illustration is a nonprofit, independent, educational and aesthetic organization. It is located in Newport, RI on Bellevue Avenue at Vernon Court (1898), a Carrere and Hastings designed Beaux-Arts adaptation of an 18th century French chateau. It is the first national museum devoted exclusively to American Illustration art. Illustration consists of original artwork created to be reproduced in books, magazines, newspapers, and advertisements. "Golden Age" paintings by such luminaries as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, NC Wyeth, JC Leyendecker, and 150 others are displayed in "Gilded Age" architecture, creating a unique union of architecture and art - a national treasure. The Museum is administered by the American Civilization Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the goal to present the best possible venue for appreciating the greatest collection of illustration art - the most American of American art.



Contact Us:


 National Museum of American Illustration

 492 Bellevue Avenue, Newport RI, 02840

 T: 401-851-8949   F: 401-851-8974

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