Norman Rockwell realism was the unique style of the American illustrator and painter. His art captured simple rural life in America. Rockwell became an illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post magazine. His art provided the cover illustrations for the magazine for nearly fifty years.
Photo: Norman Rockwell realism (Creative Commons: Agigi_nyc).
Norman Rockwell as a Boy
Norman Rockwell was born in 1894 in New York. At the age of 14, he realized that he wanted to be an artist. Rockwell began to take art classes. At the age of 16, he dropped out of high school and entered the National Academy of Design. He later transferred to and graduated from the Art Students League of New York.
At the age of 18, he landed his first job as an illustrator. He was selected to draw the cover of a book. That lead to a job as a staff artist for ‘Boy’s Life’ magazine. Rockwell provided illustrations for the magazine’s cover and featured stories. By the age of 19, he became the art editor for the magazine. The magazine was owned by the Boys Scouts of America and gave Rockwell a national audience.
At the age of 22, Rockwell painted his first cover for the Saturday Evening Post. This would be his first painting for the magazine. Rockwell would spend the next 47 years of his life producing illustrations for the Post and other magazines.
Norman Rockwell Realism
Norman Rockwell realism was often criticized by the art community. Some thought that his work lacked depth and was too commercial for ‘real art.’ Nevertheless, Norman Rockwell realism has been recognized as an artist in his own right.
Realism is a style by which an artist attempts to capture the subject matter truthfully and naturally. It differs from the impressionist styles which attempts to capture the artist’s perceptions.
Norman Rockwell realism often focused on simple rural life in America. His paintings provided a simple and sometimes humorous glimpse of American life.
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Norman Perceval Rockwell, Saturday Evening Post.