Norman Rockwell — Capturing the Heart of Americana
Celebrated as “the Dickens of the paintbrush,” it can be said that few artists have captured the culture of 20th-century America as well as Norman Rockwell.
A New Yorker by birth, Norman’s quirky, often comical depictions of everyday life earned him immediate success in the art world and beyond. In addition to advertising campaigns, greeting cards, story illustrations, posters and books, Norman was best known for his illustrations for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post magazine — a commission that would last for over 45 years, with 321 covers.
Norman’s work would tour the U.S., raising more than $130 million for the war effort, and in 2008, Rockwell would be named the official state artist of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. What went behind the work? Graphis’s Manuel Gasser speaks to Norman’s creative process in the Graphis Magazine, Issue 65:
He frequently uses photographs for this purpose and willingly admits that he likes to use them — although up to sixteen years ago he says that he never used a photograph as a basis for his painting at all. The main reason for this important change in his method of working was the virtual disappearance of the artist’s model as a profession. He also says he does not take the preliminary photographs himself but has them furnished to his instructions by a professional photographer.