|Location:||Manhattan, United States|
Norman Rockwell became known around the world for realistically depicting the everyday life of middle America. A native of Massachusetts, Rockwell is best known for his illustrations created for the Saturday Evening Post.
Ever since he was a child, Norman Rockwell had a strong desire to paint. When he turned fourteen, he enrolled in art classes. After attending a couple of art schools, he joined the Art Students League. He studied with Thomas Fogarty and George Bridgman, who were instrumental in teaching him critical technical skills and preparing him for commercial commissions. Rockwell married three times. He divorced his first wife after fourteen years together. He married his second wife soon after, and they had three sons. After she died from a heart attack, Rockwell married his third wife. In 1943, Rockwell’s art studio was destroyed in a fire along with his paintings and costume collections. In 1977, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. In 2008, Rockwell became the official state artist of Massachusetts. He lived in the state for twenty-five years.
One of Norman Rockwell’s first achievements came while he was still a teenager. He became the art director of the Boy Scouts of America’s publication, Boys’ Life. In 1916, Rockwell started painting covers for The Saturday Evening Post. This was the start of a relationship that lasted forty-seven years. He produced 321 covers for the magazine. Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms paintings after hearing President Franklin Roosevelt’s address to Congress in 1943. The Four Freedoms series included Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Want, Freedom to Worship, and Freedom from Fear. The Saturday Evening Post published them in four consecutive issues. The series was a huge success and was displayed in a national exhibition tour, which raised $130 million. In 1960, Rockwell published an autobiography with the help of his son called My Adventures as an Illustrator. It became a bestseller. Excerpts from his book were published in eight consecutive issues of the Saturday Evening Post. The cover of the first issue featured his Triple Self-Portrait painting.
- Norman Rockwell’s models were residents of the towns he lived in. He did not use professional models.
- Rockwell used 100 residents as models in Arlington, Vermont. They held a model reunion, but only twenty of the models were able to attend.