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Violin Solo by Norman Rockwell

Violin Solo Norman Rockwell
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April 28, 1923 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post

Violin Solo, the Norman Rockwell painting, that appeared on the cover of April 28, 1923 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, is another favorite of Rockwell collectors.

An alternate title for this painting is Violin Virtuoso.

This painting was Rockwell's third cover for The Post in 1923. In 1923, there were nine Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.

This was also Rockwell's 56th cover illustration out of 322 Rockwell painted for the Post. Rockwell's painting publications on the cover of the Post spanned the course of 47 years. This started with his first cover illustration on May 20, 1916, Boy With Baby Carriage in 1916 to his last Post cover, Portrait of John F. Kennedy, in 1963.

The location of the original painting is not known.

This painting also appears in Rockwell commentary books. It appears:

  • on pages 123 and 133 of Norman Rockwell 332 Magazine Covers by Christopher Finch,
  • as illustration 180 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and
  • on page 93 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.

The identity of the model is not known.

Original copies of this vintage magazine cover regularly sell for well over one hundred dollars on eBay, with or without the rest of the magazine. And to think it only cost five cents originally! Of course, it was mint condition then, too.

Violin Solo

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Available as Oil on Canvas:
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In this painting, Rockwell gives us a glimpse into the world of fine music. Once again, the artist's attention to details gives his viewers a treat

We see the guest violinist standing performing his solo. He is not looking at any music. He is only playing. He is only looking at his finger positions and concentrating on his performance.

Seated directly behind the soloist we can see two other musicians.

One of the musicians, another violinist, is watching the soloist. His facial expression is very somber, possibly even hostile. We do not know if he dislikes the music, the soloist or his shoes are hurting his feet. Of course, it could just be that he takes his job incredibly seriously.

The second seated musician is either sublimely contemplating the solo or is dozing off during the solo. Again somewhat ambigious.

Rockwell was very adept at portraying scenes witn several possible interpretaions.

Rockwell received the following letter regarding Violin Solo.

Sept. 1st, 1923

Dear Sir,

Would state my friends and I greatly enjoyed you cover of the young violinist on The Saturday Evening Post of some weeks past, not because we are musically inclined but the expression as you brought it out would cause an Undertaker to laugh.

Submit below three musical suggestions.

1- "Little Bessie learning to play her new piano lessons." (Atmosphere picturing her seated at one of the Old-Fashion Squares)

2- "Cornetist straining to reach high 'C' "

3- "An amateur quartet attempting Opera."

Your 'working these up' (as it were) would cause many of we mortals to leap and bound!


Sidney M. Stout

The April 28, 1923 Saturday Evening Post cover by Norman Rockwell: Violin Solo

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Norman Rockwell's Violin Solo (1923)
(Image Only) Copyright © 1923 Saturday Evening Post & Curtis Publishing Company

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Identity of model Not rated yet
The article states that the model is unknown. He is in fact a man named Antonio Lombardo, of Yonkers, New York. He was my grandfather.

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Norman Rockwell Quotes:

I'll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I'd like to.

No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He's got to put all his talent and feeling into them!

Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I've always called myself an illustrator. I'm not sure what the difference is. All I know is that whatever type of work I do, I try to give it my very best. Art has been my life.

Right from the beginning, I always strived to capture everything I saw as completely as possible.

The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.

I can take a lot of pats on the back. I love it when I get admiring letters from people. And, of course, I'd love it if the critics would notice me, too.

You must first spend some time getting your model to relax. Then you'll get a natural expression.

More at BrainyQuote.

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Norman Rockwell Christmas and Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Galleries are open.

Norman Rockwell's painting, A Drum for Tommy or Santa with Drum, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman on 12/17/1921
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