Norman Rockwell: Illustrating an Era

I’ve recently touched down back home in the UK after an eye opening visit to the USA. Four states in 10 days, I think that’s pretty impressive, and one of those states happened to be the home of no other than Norman Rockwell’s. Yes, we visited Massachusetts just to see the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge and yes… we totalled 8 hours in the car just to see it.

But it was worth it!

For those of you who don’t know this witty illustrator, he single handedly captured the face of America in a series of illustrations for several editorials (e.g.the Evening Post) and artworks (such as the Four Freedoms of America) from about 1912 to 1969.

Self Portrait of Norman Rockwell

His work portrays the little things in life that explain a family, society or even an entire culture through a few measured paint strokes and good humour. Wandering around the exhibition made me realise how important he was to the American war effort in both world wars as well as his presence in political debate and public opinion with his poignant pieces! He is a man whose work simply documented the history of a people conveying every age group so powerfully that I couldn’t stop my ‘serious thoughtful art’ look curling into a smile as I empathised and laughed with his front page publications.

To fully appreciate his work you need to see it first hand. So have a look! Here are some photos I took in the museum. It’s the closest I could get you to them!

“Rosie the Riveter” – 29th May 1943 War Effort Publication
“No Swimming” – 4th June 1921
“Chain of Gossip” – 6th March 1948
“The Problem We All Live With” – 1964 Painting depicting the racial desegregation of schools in 1960 in New Orleans
“The Discovery” – 29th December 1956
“Ye Glutton” – 22nd November 1923
“Girl Reading the Post” – 1st March 1942
“Checkers” – July 1928

To be completely honest with you, I can’t help wishing that maybe some newspapers or magazine might revert back to this style. Add some charm, a hint of a smile (however small) back onto the reader’s face and a touch of hope back into the papers!


4 thoughts on “Norman Rockwell: Illustrating an Era

  1. Yet another awesome and inspiring post! Loving his work especially ‘Chain of Gossip’ – totally wanna know what the gossip was. Keep up the great work Little Lemon πŸ˜€

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with you! Is American society today so cynical and depressed that a Norman Rockwell would be laughed off the front cover of any magazine? I hope not. He was also a powerful social commentator and made people think; well, at least Hollywood produced “The Butler”. I know that Norman would have approved. πŸ™‚

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