| A Special Exhibition
Rhode Island's First Ever
Norman Rockwell Exhibition
JUNE 6 - AUGUST 31, 2009
Rockwell's heartwarming depictions of everyday life made him the
best-known and most beloved American artist of the 20th century. He
lived and worked through one of the most eventful periods in the
nation's history and his paintings vividly chronicled those times. His
images often served as a mirror of American life, reflecting not who
we really were, so much as what we thought and felt - and what we
subconsciously endeavored to become.
Norman Rockwell: American Imagist
exhibits a remarkable collection of selected original art spanning six
decades, providing us with a comprehensive look at his career.
was a storyteller during a time when so-called "serious" art was
neither narrative nor representational. His painted stories were
folksy, humorous, and often topical, but Rockwell was more than just a
chronicler of the times. He had a genius for knowing which
stories to tell, how to tell them and what details to emphasize. It has
been said that a Rockwell painting does not require an explanation, a
caption or even a title. It speaks to us directly.
Rockwell is most associated with small-town America, he was in fact
born and raised in New York City. At 21, he moved to New Rochelle, New
York, to be near his idol, the notable illustrator and icon-maker, J.
C. Leyendecker. He set up a studio and began to sell freelance work to
magazines such as: Life, Literary Digest and Country Gentleman.
In 1916, at the age of 22, Rockwell painted his first cover for the prestigious Saturday Evening Post
beginning a long (1916-1963) and fruitful relationship. Most
readers immediately recognized his covers, and responded well to the
charming portraits of American life. Readers became fans and followed
his covers through the Depression years and World War II.
In 1943, the entire nation joined together when he created the Four Freedoms, which toured in an exhibition raising $135 million for the war effort through the sale of war bonds.
The Saturday Evening Post covers became Rockwell's greatest legacy. Yet he parted ways with the Saturday Evening Post in 1963 and began to work for Look magazine, where he had more creative freedom. The Look
illustrations included his first socially conscious work concerning
civil rights, space travel and other issues of national
Rockwell lived the last 25 years of his
life with his wife Molly in Stockbridge,
Massachusetts. On November 8, 1978, he died in Stockbridge at the age of
84, leaving an unfinished painting on his easel. Norman Rockwell was an
American Imagist, whose art captured America and ultimately the world.
critics have called his art too sentimental to
be taken seriously, but the fact that
his work continues to resonate and find
new audiences in the 21st century says something else. There
is a universality to his appeal, suggesting that Rockwell's real
subjects were not simply "grandfathers, puppy dogs - stuff like that,"
as the artist once said, but something larger, if less tangible.
exhibition permits us to review
selected works in chronological order, making the stages of his
career recognizable and his images more poignant. These original works
give the viewer a chance to see Rockwell's accomplished technique and
superb craftsmanship, which are sometimes overlooked in the more widely
seen reproductions of his work.
Norman Rockwell: American Imagist
asserts Rockwell's place as a
great American artist/ illustrator and suggests
that his real and most enduring subject matter was
capturing The American Spirit.
exhibition, curated by Judy Goffman Cutler and organized by Laurence S.
Cutler along with the American Illustrators Gallery and the National
Museum of American Illustration, gives us the opportunity to
experience Rockwell close up and marvel at his painterly skills.
From the Norman Rockwell: American Imagist exhibition
COUSIN REGINALD UNDER THE MISTLETOE
1917, oil on canvas
22" x 22", signed lower right
Country Gentleman, Dec. 22, 1917
THREADING THE NEEDLE
1922, oil on canvas
25 1/2" x 20 1/2", signed lower right
Saturday Evening Post, April 8, 1922
THE RUNAWAY - RUNAWAY BOY & CLOWN
1922, oil on canvas
36"x 24", signed lower right
Life, June 1, 1922 cover
BRIDGE GAME - THE BID
1948, oil on canvas
46 1/2" x 38 1/2", signed lower left
Saturday Evening Post, May 15, 1948
SHUFFLETON'S BARBERSHOP - STUDY
1950, oil on canvas
33" x 31", unsigned
Saturday Evening Post, April 29, 1950 cover study
THE PROBLEM WE ALL LIVE WITH - STUDY
1964, tempera on board
11 5/8" x 19 7/8", signed lower right
Look magazine, Jan. 14, 1964 study
PEACE CORPS IN ETHIOPIA
1966, oil on canvas
17" x 25", signed lower right
Look magazine, June14, 1966
The Museum is open year-round for visitors and group tours by advance reservation.
$18. Seniors (60+), and Military w/id: $16. Students w/id: $12.
Children ages 5 to 12: $8. Children ages 5 to 12 are permitted, only if they are vouchsafed by parents or guardians as being 'well-behaved.'
For Reservations/Press Contact:
National Museum of American Illustration
492 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840
T: 401-851-8949 ext.18. F: 401-851-8974
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 Carrére 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 75 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.
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