Back To Civies by Norman Rockwell
December 15, 1945 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Back To Civies, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published December 15, 1945. This is another favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic enduring image of the world Rockwell painted.
An alternate title for this painting is Man on Outgrown Clothes.
This painting was Rockwell's 235th 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 ninth cover for The Post in 1945. In 1945, there were ten Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting. 30 x 39.5 inches or 76 x 100.5 cm, is part of the collection of Steven Spielberg and appeared in the Smithsonian exhibit, Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell fron the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg .
This painting also appears in four Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
One study also appears in the Norman Rockwell Catalogue on pages 162.
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.
Back To Civies
In this painting, Norman Rockwell explores the dilemma of coming back from war as a man after leaving as a boy.
This was probably a common predicament since many boys could hardly wait to sign up to go to war. No doubt many filled out and grew taller while in the service.
This painting shows how Lt. A. H. Becktoft grew during his service to his country. We know his name because it appears on the duffel bag on the floor.
Becktoft was a war hero, piloting a Flying Fortress during the war. His insignia on the uniform jacket tells us that Becktoft served with distinction. The blue and yellow ribbon with the tiny oak leaf cluster means that he received the Air Medal twice while he was in the service.
The room appears to be his bedroom before he went off to war. It appears to be an upstairs room, judging by the slope of the walls.
His pants are now too short and so is his jacket. We can also see that his uniform shirt sleeve hangs way lower than his old jacket sleeve.
His facial expression reflected in the mirrror suggests amusement.
Back To Civies 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.
For this painting, the room was arranged exectly like Rockwell. Rockwell often staged his backgrounds.
This composition suggests elements of the pilot's life both before he joined the Air Corps and after.
Do you have any ideas about Back to Civvies? Please feel free to mention your opinions below.
Norman Rockwell's Back To Civies (1945)
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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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