Norman Rockwell’s tremendously successful, prolific career as a painter and illustrator has rendered him a twentieth-century American icon. However, the very popularity and accessibility of his idealized, nostalgic depictions of middleclass life have caused him to be considered not a serious artist but a “mere illustrator”–a disparagement only reinforced by the hundreds of memorable covers he drew for The Sunday Evening Post.
Symptomatic of critics’ neglect is the fact that Rockwell has never before been the subject of a serious critical biography. Based on private family archives and interviews and publishes to coincide with a major two-year travelling retrospective of his work, this book reveals for the first time the driven workaholic who had three complicated marriages and was a distant father —so different from the loving, all-American-dad image widely held to this day. Critically acclaimed author Laura Claridge also breaks new ground with her reappraisal of Rockwell’s art, arguing that despite his popular sentimental style, his artistry was masterful, complex, and far more manipulative than people realize.
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|Title of History eBook: Norman Rockwell|
|Release Date: 12-18-2001|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Norman Rockwell|
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Chapter OneNarrative Connections, the Heart of an Illustrator
We tell ourselves stories in order to live. -Joan Didion, The White Album
Norman Rockwell was not sadistic. He was, however, expert at creating desire, both in his public and in his private life. His family, who too often felt themselves to be "living out the cover of a Saturday Evening Post," as his oldest son, Jarvis, once expressed it, were routinely seduced by his invitations of intimacy, though the artist established a subtle but impermeable distance when they tried to respond. His real sensitivity was reserved for his art, his empathy lavished on his easel, day after day, for over six decades. As do many artists, he tended to exorcise his internal tensions in his paintings, so that the energy that might have been expended on the work of rearing three sons born within six years of each other exploded into the narrative stories on his canvas instead. In the summer of 1954, for instance, at the height of his powers, Rockwell undertook a Saturday Evening Post cover of an aspiring artist studying master works in a museum, The Art Critic, published on April 16, 1955. The cover shows a young man scrutinizing a woman's d...