Friday, January 28, 2011

Facts About Norman Rockwell

He was from Manhattan.

His middle name? Percevel.

A high school dropout, his talent was such that he 
became Art Director of Boys Life magazine when he was 19. 

"Freedom From Fear" was published in 1943 in the 
Saturday Evening Post. It toured the country, 
helping to raise $130 million in war bonds. 
The newspaper headline reads: "Bombings Kill...Horrors Hit." 
Rockwell disliked this piece, thinking it treacly.

He was a choir boy as a child.

 His third wife encouraged
him to focus on more
liberal themes, such as civil rights.

While painting "The Connoisseur" (above) a house painter 
happened to be in his studio. He asked the man to dump
 a can of white paint on the canvas 
which he had laid on the floor, Pollock-style.

In the painting "The Marriage License" (above)
it is nearly 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. 
The clerk has on galoshes, but it is a sunny day.

His first wife left him. He married his second wife 
three weeks after meeting her.
They were both treated for psychiatric ailments
by famous analyst Erik Erikson who
is said to have told the artist
he painted happiness but did not live it. 

The couple moved to bucolic Stockbridge, Mass., 
partly to be closer to Erikson whose psychiatric 
hospital was down the street from Rockwell's studio.
(Rockwell was an emotionally remote workaholic.) 
His alcoholic wife suffered from depression
and had electroconvulsive therapy.

The chamber quartet performs for 
a cat at the intimate "Shuffleton's Barbershop."
Incredible details—the peeling paint 
on the window frame, the flag, comic books.

"The Glamour Girl" with her scuffed shoes and mittens.

Notice the bookmarks in the sunny boy's text 
books and how he holds 
his bagged lunch. It is hard to tell who is sadder—
the collie or the shadowed father, who holds both hats.

Weirdly, an artist neighbor of Rockwell's, Donald Trachte, 
bought the painting "Breaking Home Ties" in 1960, 
and when he divorced, he kept the original and 
foisted off a near perfect forgery on the world. 
He kept the original in a secret compartment until his death in 2005.