Norman Rockwell - Willie Gillis: Home Sweet Home
November 29, 1941 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
This painting by Norman Rockwell, Willie Gillis: Home Sweet Home, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published November 29, 1941. This is yet another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for the ages.
Another title for this painting is Home on Leave.
This painting was Rockwell's fifth cover for The Post in 1941. In 1941, there were six Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
This painting was also Rockwell's 203nd overall of 322 total pictures featured on the cover of 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.
This is also the second in the Norman Rockwell Willie Gillis series of covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell painted eleven images that appeared on the Post cover and one illustration that was featured inside the Post.
I have seen pristine original copies of this magazine cover sell for over one hundred dollars on eBay. And to think it only cost five cents originally! And it was mint condition at that time, too.
The whereabouts of the original oil on canvas painting is currently unknown.
This painting also appears in three Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
It also appears on page 67 of A Treasury of the Saturday Evening Post.
Willie Gillis: Home Sweet Home
This classic Norman Rockwell painting shows Willie Gillis, the boy next door, enjoying some time at home on leave.
Going home on leave was most young GI's idea of heaven.
Eating home cooked food and sleeping in a real bed become treats when stationed away from home.
In the previous installment of Willie's story, we saw what happened when his mother or grandmother sent him a food package. He had to share it with other servicemen away from home.
Willie doesn't have to share his treat this time!
Willie is enjoying the comfort of his own bed. Complete with two fluffy pillows and a thick patchwork quilt, his single bed is just about a perfect respite from the hardships of war.
Either Willie has gone to bed early or he is sleeping late. The clockon the night stand indicates that time is almost eleven o'clock. We do not know if it is morning or night.
Willie Gillis: Home Sweet Home 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.
Also on the night stand is a tea pot and cup. His tobacco pipe is also on the night stand. Willie is enjoying as many comforts of home as possible. Rest and relaxation, indeed!
His bag on the floor proudly proclaims "Property of Pvt. Willie Gillis, Fort Dix, N.J." However, he didn't even bother properly hanging up his uniform. The uniform is just hanging on the bed post. He must be planning on wearing the uniform again in the morning.
The sign proclaiming Home Sweet Home hanging on the wall over his bed really does say it all.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1941 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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