Jester by Norman Rockwell
February 11, 1939 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Jester, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published February 11, 1939. This is another favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic enduring image of the world Rockwell painted.
Am alternate title for this painting is The Court Jester.
This painting was Rockwell's 184th overall out of 322 total paintings that were published on the cover of the Saturday Evening 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.
This was also the first cover for The Post in 1939. In 1939, there were eight Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting, 31 x 25 inches or 78.5 x 63.5 cm, is part of a private collection.
This painting also appears in four Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
Pristine original copies of this magazine cover routinely sell for big bucks on eBay, when it is offered. And to think it only cost ten cents originally! And it was mint condition then, too.
In this painting, Norman Rockwell shows us a split personality.
We can see two different emotions at play here.
The jester seems very sad. Yet he is looking at his wand. The wand bears his likeness. Yet the miniature head mounted there is laughing.
It could even be said that the miniature is laughing at the life size.
His clown costume is also interesting. Just look at all the bells. There is even a bell hanging out the back of his trousers. And the bells on the tips of his shoes almost certainly make him feel funny.
The red, white and green certainly conveys mirth and frivolity and the black and white checks of his shirt also add to that idea.
Jester 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.
The printers and engravers hd a hard time with all the gold paint that Rockwell used in this painting. At that time, The Post did not have the capability to print gold under or over other colors.
The editor sent the painting back to Rockwell to have him change all the gold paint, probabgly to yellow.
After all all those bells printed on millions of copies would have added up to a lot of gold ink..
Norman Rockwell's Jester (1939)
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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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