Tag Archives: Norman Rockwell

Honoring MLK Day: Norman Rockwell and the Civil Rights Movement

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
—Martin Luther King, Jr. (Aug. 28, 1963)

“The Problem We All Live With” (1964) by Norman Rockwell.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (observed this year on Monday, January 18), Park West Gallery would like to share, in part, a noteworthy article published today by the South Florida Times

The author of the article entitled, “Rockwell painted civil rights portraits, too,” challenges the popular belief that legendary illustrator and storyteller Norman Rockwell ignored racial and social issues, depicting only a narrow ethnic view of the white upper class. The article argues that although at times Rockwell was constrained by editorial guidelines, the artist was, in reality, very socially concerned and a genuine supporter of the Civil Rights Movement.

FORT LAUDERDALE — (…) One of the most beloved American artists of the 20th century, [Norman] Rockwell worked at the [Saturday Evening] Post for 47 years, drawing images that would be reprinted as the news magazine’s cover. Because the Post’s subscribers were largely well-to-do whites, Rockwell was constrained there to narrative paintings of the everyday lives of ordinary white people. The magazine required that black people only be seen in service positions.

After leaving the Post in 1963 Rockwell diverted from his familiar themes of family, friendship and community in societal bliss, and started to illustrate current events for Look magazine. Inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, his first illustration for Look, published in January 1964, was The Problem We All Live With, based on the real-life story of Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old girl who, in 1960, became the first African-American child to attend an all-white school in New Orleans. It was not the sort of work expected from Rockwell, who went from idealism to realism.


Here was a man that had been doing lots of work, painting family images, and all of a sudden decided this is what I’m going to do… it’s wrong, and I’m going to say that it’s wrong… the mere fact that [Norman Rockwell] had enough courage to step up to the plate and say I’m going to make a statement, and he did it in a very powerful way… even though I had not had an opportunity to meet him, I commend him for that.”
—Ruby Bridges Hall


In the painting, a little black girl dressed in white is escorted on her first day to school by four faceless U.S. Marshals, the wall behind them defaced with the N-word and the messy red gush of a tomato that someone threw at her. Rockwell was a member of the early NAACP, long before he began this painting, and even wrote a $1,000 check to the movement in the 1950s, according to Laurie Norton Moffatt, director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

“He was very socially concerned, but he wasn’t able to paint that in the Post because of editorial policies,” Moffatt said. “I think it was very liberating for him as well to be able to paint on a wider spectrum of subjects, and was particularly able to create a bridge for people to see the unfairness, the anger, the meanness, and the injustices that were happening to our children all over the United States…”

Read the Full Article >>

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Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera

Through association with the Norman Rockwell Licensing Company (the estate of the artist) and Curtis Publishing (owner of the copyrights of the Saturday Evening Post artwork), Park West Gallery has been able in recent years to bring new and exceptional collecting opportunities for Norman Rockwell artworks to enthusiastic collectors. For more information, please call 800.521.9654 x 4.
Norman Rockwell: Behind the CameraSTOCKBRIDGE, MA — A landmark exhibition that sheds new light on Norman Rockwell’s art and artistry is on view at Norman Rockwell Museum. Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera is the first exhibition to explore in depth Rockwell’s richly detailed study photographs, created by the artist as references for his iconic paintings. This the final major exhibition of Norman Rockwell Museum’s 40th anniversary year.

“Norman Rockwell was a natural storyteller with an unerring eye for detail,” said Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Norman Rockwell Museum. “This ground-breaking exhibition shows how that narrative instinct found its first expression in the artist’s meticulously composed photographs.”

Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera brings together approximately 120 prints of Rockwell’s study photographs and 25 original paintings and drawings linked to the photographs on display. In addition to original art from Norman Rockwell Museum’s collection, several significant works are on loan from such noted institutions as The Brooklyn Museum, The Memorial Art Gallery, and The National Air and Space Museum, and will be featured in the exhibition. The result is a fascinating frame-by-frame view of the development of some of Rockwell’s most indelible images. At the same time, the photographs themselves – painstakingly staged by Rockwell and involving an array of models, costumes, props, and settings – are fully realized works of art in their own right.

Guest curator Ron Schick is the first researcher to undertake a comprehensive study of Norman Rockwell Museum’s newly digitized photography archives. This repository of nearly 20,000 images encapsulates Rockwell’s use of photography over four decades.

Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera is now on view through May 21, 2010.

For more information, please visit www.nrm.org


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Park West Gallery Art and Artist News, ISSUE 15: NOVEMBER 2009

Attention Park West Gallery Newsletter fans,
ISSUE 15: NOVEMBER 2009 is here!

Issue 15 features include:

  • Park West Gallery, November newsletterPark West Gallery CEO Talks Da Vinci with WJR
  • Decoding the Durer in Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol 
  • Simon Bull Salutes “The Champ” at the Facing Ali Movie Premier
  • Lucas & Spielberg Rockwell Collections to Go On View
  • Agam Interview: Eating from the Tree of Knowledge
  • An Interview with the Artistic Director of the Museo Picasso


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Share your Park West Gallery newsletter feedback and ideas for upcoming issues – leave a comment below!


Park West Gallery Artist Interviews: Leslie Lew

Director of Park West Gallery, Morris Shapiro, recently had a rare opportunity to sit down for a chat with artist Leslie Lew. Following is Part 1 of a compelling interview in which the “Sculpted Oils” artist discusses her artwork and thriving career…

Leslie Lew in her studio. Park West Gallery.

Morris Shapiro: One of the things that strikes me about your work, which I find so fascinating and appealing, is that the notion of Pop Art and American Art is often about taking imagery from our culture and elevating it to art from a context in which it’s not art. You have this very positive idea of finding things in our culture, in our past particularly, that elevate people and bring them wonderful feelings about their past, about growing up in America.

Leslie Lew: I feel that we all have little portions of our lives…maybe when you were a child…that fresh and that wonderful time when you saw life in a totally different way and everything was new and exciting. That’s what I’m dealing with. I’m almost channeling memories. I’m channeling moments that we’ve all had. People see my work and they say, “I remember when I did that…” or, “This brings back my memory of…” And it’s not one experience—there are all these little moments of our lives. I feel I am a recorder of history; I feel I am almost channeling that and grabbing it for posterity. Life has changed so much; life now is so chaotic. We’ve got Home Depot, we’ve got Bed, Bath and Beyond. We don’t have those little stores any longer; they have gone out of existence. So I grab these little moments that we’ve had, because we need to keep them. It’s our American heritage; it’s part of our souls.

MS: Tell us about the three artists who were your primary influences—Peter Max, Andy Warhol and Norman Rockwell.

LL: Peter Max, with the vibrant and explosive color. People who like Peter Max tend to gravitate toward my work. He draws from popular American culture, so I can see that. And of course Warhol is the ultimate Pop artist. Like my father, he was in advertising before he was a painter.

MS: So from Peter Max you get the idea of reaching the public with cultural iconography. And Warhol has influenced your Pop style, where you appropriate things from culture. What about Norman Rockwell?

LL: From Norman Rockwell I learned to appeal to the soul. It’s about our whole memories, like macaroni and cheese and meatloaf—comfort food—appealing to those memories that we have deep in our soul. I’m so happy because people get it; they may not know about art, but they love it. And people who are collecting Picasso’s and Rembrandts also get it. I just love that.

Norman Rockwell did a lot of scenes of Americana. You know…the barber shop scene with the little boy getting his hair cut, the army scenes, soldiers, things that were happening in his life. For me, I think I’ve done something similar for my generation—the Baby Boomers. I’ve noticed, though, that even people in their 20s and 30s still seem to be able to relate. And I grab those kinds of ideas. I’ve done a barber shop, and I didn’t put anybody in it, but there are a lot of products. It’s almost about the barber and his shop. He’s got his little coat in there and he’s got his little icons on the shelf and a hairdryer, and the mirror reflects his jacket. Or I do the Animal Crackers because we’ve all had animal crackers.

MS: Tell me about Animal Crackers.

LL: Animal crackers. I think that’s got to be better than Campbell’s soup. It’s the epitome of every childhood. Everybody growing up in America has had animal crackers. My son has had them, you have had them, I’ve had them. I would say most people in the world have. I don’t even know if I thought about that when I first started doing animal cracker paintings. I just loved the animals and I loved the idea of building them up and making them like little live creatures.

MS: And this particular subject is, I think, one of your most popular. I understand you made a painting which is in the Mayo Clinic.

LL: Yes, the very first animal cracker painting that I ever painted was purchased by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. What made me feel really great was that they hung it in the lobby of the children’s ward. When the kids walk in, and these are scared, sick kids, the first thing they get to see is Animal Crackers. And literally, every one of those kids lights up. They are allowed to touch it, and I think in some ways it might be a little bit of a healing thing, too…

*   *   *   *   *

Stay tuned to the Park West Gallery blog for Part 2 of this fascinating interview with Leslie Lew!


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Picturing Health: Norman Rockwell and the Art of Illustration

Through association with the Norman Rockwell Licensing Company (the estate of the artist) and Curtis Publishing (owner of the copyrights of the Saturday Evening Post artwork), Park West Gallery has been able in recent years to bring new and exceptional collecting opportunities for Norman Rockwell artworks to enthusiastic collectors.

Norman Rockwell. The Muscleman, 1941.FREDERICKSBURG, VA – Gari Melchers Home and Studio is hosting the exhibition Picturing Health: Norman Rockwell and the Art of Illustration, organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum. One of the most successful visual communicators of the twentieth century, Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was a keen observer of human nature. Created over six decades, his carefully conceived narrative for the masses gave voice to the ideals and aspirations of real people and served as a reassuring guide during an ear of sweeping social and technological change.

Picturing Health: Norman Rockwell and the Art of Illustration features 11 original paintings by Norman Rockwell from the collection of Pfizer Inc., which are among the finest examples of the artist’s advertising imagery. Norman Rockwell’s paintings explore the doctor/patient relationship, health and healing across generations, and the importance of physical fitness. In addition to the outstanding Rockwell canvases are featured 14 of today’s preeminent illustrators from the pages of Healthy Living, Men’s Health, Newsweek, The New York Times and The New Yorker. Their artwork presents a contemporary perspective on many of the same health-related subjects explored nearly 50 years earlier by Rockwell.

Picturing Health: Norman Rockwell and the Art of Illustration is now on view through January 31, 2010.

For more information, please visit www.GariMelchers.org


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Norman Rockwell – Dead But Busier Than Ever

Park West Gallery, through association with the Norman Rockwell Licensing Company (the estate of the artist) and Curtis Publishing (owner of the copyrights of the Saturday Evening Post artwork), has been able in recent years to bring new and exceptional collecting opportunities for Norman Rockwell artworks to enthusiastic collectors.
In the November 2009 issue of Vanity Fair, contributing editor David Kamp takes “a fresh look” at the art  of Norman Rockwell in his article, Norman Rockwell’s American Dream (see below). The article explores the inspiration and creative processes behind Norman Rockwell’s painted vignettes of everyday American life and argues that perhaps the artist is just as relevant today as ever. The following video provides  a wonderful slide show of Norman Rockwell’s artworks accompanied by further discussion of the artist (featuring David Kamp with co-Vanity Fair contributing artist and Rockwell-enthusiast, Ross MacDonald).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Norman Rockwell’s American Dream
By DAVID KAMP • Vanity Fair | November 2009

Judging by the popularity of two traveling retrospectives, and plans for a third exhibition in 2010, America is re-discovering one of its most underappreciated and misunderstood artists: Norman Rockwell. With photographs excerpted from a new book by Ron Schick, the author explores the divide between Rockwell’s rocky private life and his sunny small-town iconography, the elaborate studies behind his paintings, and the truth that lies in his idealized vision of his country—resonating more deeply than ever today. . .

Read the Full Article >>


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Private Rockwell Collections of Lucas and Spielberg To Go Public

Park West Gallery, through association with the Norman Rockwell Licensing Company (the estate of the artist) and Curtis Publishing (owner of the copyrights of the Saturday Evening Post artwork), has been able in recent years to bring new and exceptional collecting opportunities for Norman Rockwell artworks to enthusiastic collectors.

Smithsonian to Feature Rockwell
October 1, 2009

Norman Rockwell. Shadow Artist. 1920.

Steven Spielberg And George Lucas Collections to Go On Exhibit in 2010

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, two of America’s most successful filmmakers, have combined their collections of the art of Norman Rockwell, one of America’s most celebrated illustrators, for an upcoming exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is expected to announce Thursday that more than 50 drawings and paintings from the private holdings of Lucas and Spielberg will be shown at the museum next year. Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell From the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg will be on exhibit from July 2, 2010, through Jan. 2, 2011

Lucas is contributing the oldest painting in the show, one from a cover of Lifemagazine in 1917, with a World War I soldier in his doughboy uniform bending over to speak to a petite girl wearing a kerchief and apron. Polley voos Fransey is the title. Another Lucas contribution, Shadow Artist, is a 1920 cover from another magazine, the Country Gentleman. A particularly popular image, and one of Rockwell’s favorites, comes from Spielberg: Freedom of Speech. . .

Read the Full Story at WashingtonPost.com >>

For more on Telling Stories, please visit AmericanArt.si.edu

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Norman Rockwell: Fact and Fiction at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

Park West Gallery, through our association with the Norman Rockwell Licensing Company (the estate of the artist) and Curtis Publishing (owner of the copyrights of the Saturday Evening Post artwork), has been able in recent years to bring new and exceptional collecting opportunities for Norman Rockwell artworks to enthusiastic collectors. 
Contact a Park West Gallery sales associate for more info >>

Norman Rockwell. Election Day. 1944.

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA — The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA) is pleased to present Norman Rockwell: Fact & Fiction. In 2007, the citizens of Cedar Rapids rallied together to purchase a series of watercolors destined for the auction block in New York. These five watercolors, by acclaimed 20th century American artist Norman Rockwell, depicted scenes associated with an election day and were created specifically for the November 4, 1944 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.

To complete the Post commission, Rockwell traveled to a quintessential Midwestern town, Cedar Rapids, to study local citizens as models for his series of images. In the 65 years since his visit, numerous anecdotes and stories have arisen about the artist’s time in Cedar Rapids and the creation of this work.

This exhibition uses these five, newly conserved and restored watercolors, an oil painting from the Norman Rockwell Museum, along with numerous photographs taken by local photographer Wes Panek for Rockwell, to investigate the many facts and fictions associated with Rockwell’s visit and this set of watercolors.

Norman Rockwell: Fact & Fiction will be on display through January 3, 2010.

For more information about this exhibit, visit www.crma.org


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