NEW ADDITIONS TO NMAI
AMERICAN IMAGIST COLLECTION
With an expanded Summer Admissions schedule and record-setting attendance at our traveling Norman Rockwell: American Imagist
exhibition, 2009 was another exciting year at the National Museum of
American Illustration. (NMAI). We embark upon 2010, our tenth year in
operation, with a full plate: arranging traveling exhibitions (Norman Rockwell: American Imagist opens at the Paine Art Center in Wisconsin on June 3rd, 2010), a new book undertaking for Harry N. Abrams Publishing (Norman Rockwell - Greatest American Imagist),
a major event scheduled for July 29th; (our 10th Anniversary
Celebration), new restoration projects at Vernon Court, and in the
Spring, the opening at the NMAI of a major milestone exhibition entitled
Norman Rockwell and His Mentor, J.C. Leyendecker.
Mead Schaeffer's Sugaring-Off
by Mead Schaeffer, was generously gifted to the NMAI by Dudley and
Michael Del Balso in memory of C.W. Moody. Schaeffer was a colleague,
competitor, neighbor, and close friend of Norman Rockwell. The two
illustrators and their families lived nearby each other in Arlington,
Vermont. Both Schaeffer and his daughter frequently posed as models for
Rockwell during this period and it is thought Schaeffer's daughter was
the model for Miss Liberty. In the 1920s, Schaeffer began his career by illustrating adventure novels for Dodd & Mead, much like N.C. Wyeth did for Scribner's Classics.
In the 1930s and 1940s, the artist shifted focus from adventure novels
to portraying contemporary American life for magazines, often set in
New England. Sugaring-Off is an excellent example of just such a painting executed for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
It portrays a traditional Vermont scene of hardy, frost-proof New
Englanders harvesting maple syrup. While the NMAI has a number of
Schaeffer's works in our permanent collection, Sugaring-Off is our first Post cover by the artist, and a most welcome addition.
Above: Sugaring Off, by Mead Schaeffer. 1945
2009 Presidential Inaugural Medal by Sculptor Marc Mellon:
recent and unusual gift is the donation of an original 2009
Presidential Inaugural Medal crafted by renowned sculptor and NMAI
Advisory Board member Marc Mellon. Mr. Mellon sculpted the face of the
medal featuring President Obama, while former U.S. Mint sculptor Thomas.
D. Rogers Sr. designed the reverse, featuring the Official Inaugural
Seal and the words "44th President of the United States of America,
Inaugurated Jan. 20, 2009". Above (l-r): front of Presidential Inaugural Medal by Marc Mellon, reverse by Thomas D. Rogers Sr.
Mr. Mellon has also gifted to the museum a second bronze medal - his earlier design for the Inaugural Medal competition.
Above: Marc Mellon's first design for the Presidential Inaugural Medal
Inaugural Medal is among the most recent of many notable works in
Mellon's career. Others include: portrait busts of notable figures such
as Pope John Paul II, Winston S. Churchill (on loan to the NMAI), Tony
Bennett, Kate Smith, Patricia Neill, Muhammad Ali, Mickey Mantle, Arthur
Ashe, Michael Jordan, Chris Evert, and President George H. W. Bush; the
NBA and WNBA MVP trophies; and the Ireland Chamber of Commerce: Smurgit Award presented to former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell for his efforts in fostering peace in Northern Ireland.
The NMAI is honored that Mark Mellon chose to gift the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Medal to the museum.
NMAI Rockwell Exhibition named by ProJo among
'The Best of 2009':
The NMAI is pleased to announce that the Providence Sunday Journal, selected NMAI's Norman Rockwell: American Imagist
exhibition among the four best art exhibitions in Southern New England
for 2009. Arts Editor Bill Van Siclen's article, "A rewarding year
of exhibits," describes Rockwell as "a latter-day Breughel who used
his work to explore the American experience in all its sprawling,
many-splendored glory." Fans of illustration art and Rockwell will be
pleased to know that in addition to Norman Rockwell: American Imagist
exhibition continuing to tour the nation and world-wide until 2012, the
NMAI plans to exhibit a joint Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker
exhibition in Newport during the Summer Season of 2010, it is entitled: Norman Rockwell and His Mentor, J.C. Leyendecker. More information will soon be available.
Above (l-r): Miss Liberty, by Norman Rockwell. 1943. Uncle Sam with Rifle, by J.C. Leyendecker. 1916
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