April Fool: Checkers by Norman Rockwell
April 3, 1943 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
April Fool: Checkers, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published April 3, 1943. This is another favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic enduring image of the world Rockwell painted.
This painting was Rockwell's 213th 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 1943. In 1943, there were five Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on board painting, 11.5 x 11.5 inches or 29 x 29 cm, is part of a private collection.
This painting also appears in seven 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.
April Fool: Checkers
This painting was the first of three Norman Rockwell April Fool covers.
Rockwell conceived of the April Fool paintings as a way ofsnubbing his nose at critics, both helpful and otherwise, who invariably wrote him about his cover paintings.
Rarely was a painting published that some well-meaning person did not write to correct some minor or even glaring error that they had found in the painting.
Of course, Rockwell was well known as a realist and this probably irritated him. He spent a lot of time and energy making sure that the portrayals in his paintings were accurate.
So, in 1943, he came up with the idea that he would purposely paint a scene with as many absurdities and mistakes as he could imagine.
He certainly succeeded at that with this painting.
April Fool: Checkers 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.
Rockwell actually had people writing in to point mistakes in this painting as well. Maybe that is what they meant by April Fool.
Take a minute out of your schedule to see how many mistakes you can find. Respond below to see your observations published on this website.
Norman Rockwell's April Fool: Checkers (1943)
Remember to check back often.
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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