From barefoot boys fleeing a forbidden swimming hole to astronauts triumphantly stepping onto the moon, Norman Rockwell's paintings provide enduring images of twentieth-century American life. Rockwell (1894-1978), one of America's most popular artists and illustrators, helped forge a sense of national identity during a century of sweeping technological and social change. Eighty of Rockwell's most beloved paintings are included here, their lush color vividly reproduced. The authors approach Rockwell from a wide variety of perspectives, offering a fresh appreciation of his work, a deep understanding of the complexity of his pictures, and a reassessment of his place as a shaper of mass-media imagery. Thomas Hoving, former director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, sounds the Mall for a reappraisal of Rockwell. The co-curators of the exhibition contribute three essays : Maureen Hart Hennessey and Judy L Larson collaborate on a biographical essay ; Anne Knutson examines Rockwell's relationship to The Saturday Evening Post and how the magazine helped shape his aesthetic ; and Hennessey revisits the creation of Rockwell's Four Freedoms and their enduring appeal and significance. Noted art historian Robert Rosenblum places Rockwell within the larger context of twentieth-century art. Karal Ann Marling, professor of art history and American studies at the University of Minnesota, explores the origins and evolution of Rockwell's Christmas imagery. A personal response to Rockwell's urban scenes is offered by Neil Harris, acclaimed historian of popular culture. Robert Coles, distinguished child psychiatrist and the artist's friend, eloquently describes the reaction by both black and white Southerners to Rockwell's historic civil rights painting The Problem We All Live With. An incisive analysis of Rockwell's The Connoisseur is contributed by noted historian of American art Wanda M Corn. Steven Heller, art director for The New York Times Book Review, discusses Rockwell's place in the development of American illustration since the 1950s. Well-known critic of contemporary culture Dave Hickey brings a refreshingly original interpretation to some of the artist's most beloved images - notably After the Prom - and portrays Rockwell as a progressive artist. Peter Rockwell, sculptor and son of the artist, reveals how certain paintings reflect his father's musings on his role as an artist and illustrator. The directors of the two
organizing institutions - Laurie Norton Moffatt
of The Norman Rockwell Museum and Ned
Rifkin of the High Museum of Art - offer introductory remarks. The most expansive analysis of Norman Rockwell's work to date, this book employs the most current methods of visual analysis and cultural history to examine his critical role in
influencing American perceptions of twentieth century culture. For devoted fans of Rockwell's work, and for those looking at it carefully for the first time, this book is a source of lasting enjoyment and value.