Merrie Christmas: Man with Christmas Goose by Norman Rockwell
December 17, 1938 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Merrie Christmas: Man with Christmas Goose, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published December 17, 1938.
Alternate titles for this painting are just Muggleton Stage Coach, Muggleston Coach and Mister Pickwick.
The original oil on canvas painting, 27 x 22 inches or 68.5 x 56 cm, is now held in a private collection.
This painting was Rockwell's 183rd overall of 322 total pictures featured on the cover of The Post and the sixth Rockwell cover in 1938. The Post featured a Rockwell illustration on its cover six times in 1938.
This painting also appears in three Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
The original cover price was still just five cents, although now a magazine in new condition sells for over one hundred dollars.
Merrie Christmas: Man with Christmas Goose
Here is another famous Norman Rockwell Christmas illustration.
Rockwell's penchant for painting Dickens characters is evident in this painting.
Norman Rockwell has been a Charles Dickens afficianado since he was a boy listening to his father read Dickens stories to the family for entertainment.
Here we see Rockwell's vision of Mr. Pickwick waiting to catch the Muggleston Stagecoach.
Charles Dickens would have been proud to have had his stories illustrated by such a talented and meticulous artist as Rockwell. Rockwell's insistence on authenticity and accuracy in his illustrations would have made a Rockwell-illustrated volume of Dickens stories a real treasure.
Rockwell uses the visual prop of the poster with the words "Muggleston Stagecoach" to make certain that his subject is understood.
Besides the character of Mr. Pickwick, the detail that catches my eye first is the greatcoat. Rockwell's collection of props and costumes was legendary in its time. The greatcoat was most likely an authentic period garment from the period he was portraying.
It looks like Mr. Pickwick is going for a Christmas visit.
He has everything a good guest would be expected to arrive with. In his basket, he is bringing a goose, fruit, bread, some holly sprigs and, of course, a bottle of wine.
Merrie Christmas: Man with Christmas Goose 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.
He has his bag packed and has brought his umbrella in case the weather turns inclement.
And, of course, his greatcoat is nice and warm.
His jolly expression and the holly sprig in the band of his hat assure us that he will have a fine holiday.
Norman Rockwell's Merrie Christmas: Man with Christmas Goose (1938)
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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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