1894–1978, USA

Also known as: NR, N, Norman Perceval Rockwell

Name Norman ROCKWELL
Birth 1894, USA
Died 1978, USA

Norman Rockwell's name has become synonymous with American illustration. From 1916 to 1963, he created hundreds of covers for "The Saturday Evening Post," many of which have become icons of American pop culture. He was also much in demand as an illustrator of corporate calendars. His method of composition for the original oil paintings that were the basis of the printed covers, was to make a loose sketch of the idea, then gather costumes, models, and props, make individual drawings of the parts, and then combine them into the final detailed work. Although his work had a great influence on creating an image of middle-class, conservative America, his work for "Look" magazine in the 1960's pursued subjects of that conflict-ridden decade, such as segregation. Throughout his long career, his work provides an excellent look into America's changing consciousness in the 20th century.


Rockwell, Norman:Born in New York City on February 3, 1894, Norman Rockwell began his illustrious career at a young age, receiving his first commission to paint Christmas cards at sixteen and illustrating his first book just the following year. Rockwell’s artwork made its debut on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on May 20, 1916, becoming his first of 323 covers that would be published by the iconic American magazine over the next 47 years. Accordingly, his success with The Post captured the attention of other publications including Life, Judge and Leslie’s, and the young artist enjoyed a fruitful income throughout the 1920s. He received commissions from household names such as Jell-O, Boy Scouts of America and Orange Crush soda, among others. The 1930s and 40s also proved to be prolific periods in Rockwell’s career, despite some critics who pigeonholed his work as “kitschy”— intended for reproduction use only and therefore lacking in true artistic merit. Even some of his contemporaries referred to Rockwell as an “illustrator” instead of a painter—a label he willingly embraced. Nevertheless, Rockwell used his creative platform to draw upon social and cultural issues facing America and was praised by the public for his ability to capture the triumphs and tribulations of the common man. His political and social commentary became more apparent during the latter part of his career, and he began to receive greater recognition as an artist when he contributed to several projects condemning racism and stressing the importance of integration for the younger generations. His influence on society remains memorialized not only through his paintings but also the publications, advertisements and literature that exposed his body of work to a wider audience and allowed the greater public to appreciate what he had to say.