Willie Gillis In Church by Norman Rockwell
July 25, 1942 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
This painting by Norman Rockwell, Willie Gillis In Church, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published July 25, 1942. This is yet another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's fifth cover for The Post in 1942. In 1942, there were eight Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published. It was also the 209th overall out of 322 total Rockwell illustrations that were published in the cover of the Post.
This painting was also Rockwell's 209th 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 sixth in the Norman Rockwell Willie Gillis series of covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell painted eleven images in the series that appeared on the Post cover and one illustration that was featured inside the Post.
This painting also appears in three Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
I have seen pristine original copies of this magazine cover sell for over one hundred dollars on eBay. And to think it only cost ten cents originally! And it was in mint condition at that time, too.
The whereabouts of the original oil on canvas painting is currently unknown.
Willie Gillis In Church
This classic Norman Rockwell painting shows Willie Gillis, America's boy next door, sitting on a pew in church.
Rockwell never actually painted Willie Gillis in combat or in any scene where he might be harmed. In fact, most of the paintings in the Willie Gillis series are comical or humorous in some way or another.
This painting is the lone painting in the series that has a serious tone to it.
Much of Rockwell's work late in his career tackled serious subjects. Very few of Rockwell's paintings of this period concerned weighty subjects.
Private Gillis looks very spiritual in this painting. Perhaps he realizes how fortunate he is to not be in the thick of the fighting like so many other GI's were.
He is surrounded by superior officers sitting in the pews around him. We can see seargents stripes in the upper left corner. The person whose shoulder we can see in the lower right corner has bars on his shoulder. The person sitting two pews behind Willie is wearing dark blue with polished brass buttons on the sleeve, but we can't see his rank.
Willie Gillis In Church 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.
Of course, Gillis is a private so everybody with a stripe is a superior officer.
Most importantly, we finally get to see Willie in s situation where he is not engaged with members of the opposite sex.
In the last installment, we were treated to Willie catching up on the news from home, so it's good to see Willie retrurning to his spiritual roots in this painting.
Norman Rockwell's Willie Gillis In Church (1942)
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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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