Marble Champion by Norman Rockwell
September 2, 1939 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Marble Champion, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published September 2, 1939. This is another favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic enduring image of the world Rockwell painted.
An alternate title for this painting is Actress Putting On Make Up.
This painting was Rockwell's 189th 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 sixth cover for The Post in 1939. In 1939, there were eight Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting, 28 x 22 inches or 71 x 55 cm, is part of the collection of film maker George Lucas and was on display at the Smithsonian's Museum of American Art in 2010.
One study for the painting, 13.75 x 11.75 inches or 34.9 x 29.8 cm, brought $114,000 at auction at Sotheby's in New York City on November 29, 2006.
This painting also appears in six 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 five cents originally! And it was mint condition then, too.
In this painting, Norman Rockwell shows us how some skill can be used to advantage.
The young schoolboy on the right has just been schooled.
The young lady teaching this lesson is about to win all the marbles.
She is shooting for the last marble. From the looks of it, she doesn't miss.
The boy's matble bag, the black and white striped one that matches his shirt, is lying flat and empty on the ground.
The girl's marble bag, the white one, is as full as she can get it and still be able to tie it securely shut.
There are still over half a bag's worth of marbles lying on the ground in her pile. I tried to count the extra marbles, but stopped when I reached sixty.
The boy with the red hat is intently watching this match. His marble bag is langing limp out of his back pocket. Apparently he was her previous victim.
Is he now an admirer of her marble skills or is he trying to pick up some hints on how to shoot?
The expressions on the children's faces tell the whole story.
Marble Champion 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.
Poor boys! School has just started and they are already out of marbles.
Several contrasts are at work here. Winning vs losing. Red hair vs brunette. Female vs male.
It is also interesting to see the period children's clothing.
Norman Rockwell's Marble Champion (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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