April Fool: Fishing by Norman Rockwell
March 31, 1945 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
April Fool: Fishing, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published March 31, 1945. This is another favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic enduring image of the world Rockwell painted.
This painting was Rockwell's 228th 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 second cover for The Post in 1945. In 1945, there were ten Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The location of the original oil on canvas painting is not known.
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.
April Fool: Fishing
This Norman Rockwell painting is a real treat for both the eyes and the imagination.
This was the second of three of Rockwell's April Fool paintings. John Atherton, Rockwell's friend and fellow Post illustrator, was the model for the fisherman.
The reason he started painting this series was because of the large numbers of letters he received pointing out errors in his paintings.
Rockwell was a real stickler for authenticity in detail. He did painstaking research into every conceivable detail on every composition. He traveled to other locations to photograph backgrounds, props and characters to use in his paintings.
His paintings were more accurate than some photographs.
So one can understand why criticism of the details of his work might make him a little cranky about it.
His answer: paint a picture with so many inaccuracies, contradictions and outright fantasy that most people can't begin to find them all.
April Fool: Fishing 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.
Still, he even received many letters about these paintings supposed inaccuracies. (Sigh)
How many "mistakes" can you spot? Feel free to express yourself below.
Click here for Rockwell's own list of errors from the 1945 April Fool's painting Fishing.
Norman Rockwell's April Fool: Fishing (1945)
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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