American artist, Norman Percevel Rockwell was born in 1894 in New York. He gained immense popularity thanks to his astonishing artworks and his collaboration with The Saturday Evening Post. The artist had been illustrating its cover for forty years.
In his teens, he entered the New York School of Art. Later, he moved to the National Academy of Design, and then became a member of the Art Students League creative association. Being very young, the artist, nevertheless, worked successfully, taking orders for illustrations, postcards, and other design activities.
Reaching 21, Rockwell organized his own studio, which almost immediately received orders from such famous publications as Life, Literary Digest, and others.
Norman Rockwell achieved incredible fame. He was one of the most successful illustrators of our time. In his paintings, Rockwell, with striking realism, portrayed the world, filled with kindness and warmth. This was the world most people want it to be.
In the forties, inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech of Four Freedoms, Norman Rockwell created the series “American Freedoms”, the exhibitions of which brought him about 130 million dollars. All this money Norman donated for military needs, so strong was his civil liability. His canvases can light the hearts of people in the darkest times. “Freedom from Fear” has become one of the cult paintings of the post-war time - a warm and peaceful evening when parents put their children to bed. Rockwell thus expressed freedom from fear, inspired by Roosevelt's speech about " a worldwide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world."
Norman Rockwell didn’t just paint American life. He preached human values, he raised hope and faith in the national idea, he showed the importance of a smile and good nature, and mutual aid and decency were in the forefront in his masterpieces.
With an incredible ability to work, Norman Rockwell created 4,000 paintings. A gifted narrator, Rockwell rarely painted pictures from his imagination. He had his own method of work - the producer’s method! The most difficult, the artist admitted, was to choose an idea that would be interesting to both a housewife and a politician. When the plot was found, Rockwell started looking for models; often they were members of his family, friends, or neighbors. The artist carefully thought out the costumes and decor, and for a long time he searched for poses of his “characters”.
One of his best-known works is about Christmas. Nothing depicts family values better then this picture. To make “Christmas Homecoming” truly alive, Rockwell pictured his own family - we can see him on the right side with the usual pipe in his teeth. In the center - his adult son, who returned home for the Christmas holidays in a strong maternal embrace.
His picture Saying Grace (1951) is imbued with the spirit of post-war America. Painting it, the artist wanted to answer questions that were vital for people at that time. How, after going through violence and cruelty, to keep faith in kindness? Where to find the strength to look at the future with hope?
This work has become the most expensive work of American realistic art - in 2013, it was sold for $ 46 million.
“I unconsciously decided that, even if it wasn't an ideal world, it should be so and painted only the ideal aspects of it …”— explained Norman Rockwell his vision of art.
In 1977, Rockwell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom: his son Jarvis accepted it.
“The View of life I communicate in my pictures excludes the sordid and the ugly. I paint life as I would like it to be.” Norman Rockwell
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Phoenix Voyage Creative Team