Puppy Love by Norman Rockwell
April 24, 1926 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Puppy Love, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published April 24, 1926. This is another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for the ages.
The official title for this illustration is Boy and Girl Gazing at Moon, but I have always heard it referred to as Puppy Love, so that is why I named this article with the more popular alternate title. Other alternate titles for this painting include Little Spooners, First Love and Sunset.
This painting was Rockwell's fourth cover for The Post in 1926. In 1926, there were ten Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
This was also Rockwell's 86th cover illustration out of 322 Rockwell painted for the Post. Rockwell's career with the Post spanned 47 years, from his first cover illustration, Boy With Baby Carriage in 1916 to his last, Portrait of John F. Kennedy, in 1963.
The original oil on canvas painting, 24 x 20 inches or 61 x 51 cm, as of February 13, 2015 is part of the collection of The Norman Rockwell Museum of Massachusetts. A generous donation, indeed, by Bill Millis who had owned it since 1975.
This painting also appears in Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
Yhe identity of the models is not known. The identity of the dog is also not known.
Pristine original copies of this magazine cover can sell for well over one hundred dollars on eBay. And to think it only cost five cents originally! Of course, it was mint condition then, too.
We cannot see the faces of the young lovers, so we have to guess at their approximate ages. I do not believe they are teeenagers yet. I believe they are younger.
This is one of those romantic images that Rockwell often evoked with his paintings. Two young people in love are seated on a bench watching the sun set. What could be more idyllic?
What more needs to be said? Well, you know me!
My eye is first drawn to the details. These details depict the affection these two share. The most noticeable thing that catches my eye is how the young man has his arm wrapped around the object of his affections. The next thing I notice is how she is nestled up next to him.
Rockwell has captured exactly how lovers sit together when enjoying one another's company. I wonder whether or not the models he used for the illustration were actually sweethearts. If not, they were excellent actors and coached well by the artist.
After the children, I notice how the bench the couple are sitting on looks to be homemade. Little Spooners was published during the Roaring Twenties. Economic times were generally good. Still this young boy has crafted a bench out of two lengths of wood, probably firewood borrowed from his parents, and a modest piece of lumber. The piece of lumber is so thin that it is bowing in the middle under the weight of the two young people. Of course, thet just makes it easier to snuuggle closer.
The poor little dog looks sad that he has been abandoned by the boy for a two legged friend. He is pawing near the boy's discarded fishing pole as if to say "let's go" to his master. But the boy is not thinking about fishing or his puppy. No puppy love here towards the puppy.
But how long does Puppy Love last, you might ask? It lasts as long as it is enjoyable. Enjoy it!
Puppy Love was only one of 322 Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers; Here is the list of Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
Puppy Love was also recently seen on Google's home page in the form of a Google Doodle. Google was honoring Norman Rockwell on what would have been his 116th birthday on February 3, 2010.
More details are available here and at The Christian Science Monitor, The Simple Thoughts Blog, Daily Bloger,The Berkshire Eagle, The About-Knowledge Blog, Left Coast Rebel Blog, Frugal Cafe and the Parkwest Gallery.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1926 Saturday Evening Post & Curtis Publishing Company
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Do you have a personal story about this painting? Do you know the model personally? Do you have a different take on the commentary?
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.
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