The Photos That Inspired Norman Rockwell’s Paintings
Norman Rockwell (Feb. 3, 1894 – Nov. 8, 1978) was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the 322 cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for over 47 years. He is also well-known for his work with the Boy Scouts of America.
A prolific artist, Rockwell produced over 4,000 original works in his lifetime. What some people may be unaware of is that Rockwell meticulously composed photographs that he used as part of his artistic process to create his famous paintings and illustrations. According to Ron Schick, the author of Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera:
Working alongside skilled photographers, Rockwell acted as director, carefully orchestrating models, selecting props, and choosing locations for the photographs–works of art in their own right–that served as the basis of his iconic images… many of his most memorable characters – the girl at the mirror, the young couple on prom night, the family on vacation – were friends and neighbours who served as his amateur models.
Stockbridge, Massachusetts is where you will find the Normal Rockwell Museum, featuring more than 570 paintings and drawings and an archive of more than 100,000 photographs, letter and materials. It is here that many of the original photographs can be found that served as Rockwell’s inspiration. For visitation and access to the online archive, be sure to visit: www.nrm.org
- The Norman Rockwell Museum
- PDN (Photo District News): Norman Rockwell’s Photo Realism
- PetaPixel: The Photographs Norman Rockwell Used to Create His Famous Paintings
- Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick
- NPR: Norman Rockwell’s Cast Of Characters Revealed
- Wikipedia: Norman Rockwell
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