The pictures of Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) were recognized
and loved by almost everybody in America. The cover of The
Saturday Evening Post was his showcase for over forty
years, giving him an audience larger than that of any other
artist in history. Over the years he depicted there a unique
collection of Americana, a series of vignettes of remarkable
warmth and humor. In addition, he painted a great number
of pictures for story illustrations, advertising campaigns,
posters, calendars, and books.
As his personal contribution during World War II, Rockwell
painted the famous "Four Freedoms" posters, symbolizing
for millions the war aims as described by President Franklin
Roosevelt. One version of his "Freedom of Speech" painting
is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Rockwell left high school to attend classes at the National
Academy of Design and later studied under Thomas Fogarty
and George Bridgman at the Art Students League in New York.
His early illustrations were done for St. Nicholas
magazine and other juvenille publications. He sold his first
cover painting to the Post in 1916 and ended up doing
over 300 more. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson
sat for him for portraits, and he painted other world figures,
including Nassar of Egypt and Nehru of India.
In 1957 the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington
cited him as a Great Living American, saying that..."Through
the magic of your talent, the folks next door - their gentle
sorrows, their modest joys - have enriched our own lives
and given us new insight into our countrymen."
The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts
has established a large collection of his paintings, and
has preserved Rockwell's last studio as well.