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The Homecoming by Norman Rockwell

The Homecoming by Norman Rockwell
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May 26, 1945 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post


The Homecoming, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published May 26, 1945. This is yet another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for all the ages.

An alternate title for this painting is Homecoming GI.

This painting was Rockwell's third cover for The Post in 1945. In 1945, there were ten Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.

This was also the 229th Rockwell painting overall out of 322 total 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.

I have seen pristine original copies of this magazine cover sell for big bucks on eBay. And to think it only cost ten cents originally! And it was mint condition then, too.

The original oil on canvas painting, 28 x 22 inches or 71 x 56 cm, is currently part of a private collection.

This painting also appears in six Rockwell commentary books. It appears:

  • on page 2 of The Norman Rockwell Album,
  • as illustration 244 of Norman Rockwell's America by Christopher Finch,
  • on page 33 of 50 Norman Rockwell Favorites,
  • as illustrations 410 and 417 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner,
  • on page 84 of Norman Rockwell: A Sixty Year Retrospective by Thomas Buechner and
  • on page 160 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.

It is also reproduced in The Norman Rockwell Poster Book.

Two different preliminary versions, studies, of this painting also appeared in The Norman Rockwell Album on page 138.

This painting also appeared on a United States government poster in 1945. The poster bore the caption, Hasten the Homecoming, BUY VICTORY BONDS.

This classic Norman Rockwell painting a young man coming home. one of many returning soldiers, sailors and airmen.





The Homecoming

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Norman Rockwell, typically topical, shows us an American serviceman returning home to his loved ones after serving in World War Two.

This young American soldier is home. Finally.

Whether for good or just on leave, he is home.

Home.

There's no place like it in all the world.

We can be sure this is his home because of all the people who are glad to see him. His mother's face is positively luminous.

One little sister is standing on the steps, loudly calling his name. His youngest sister is peeking around from behind the other sister and grinning from ear to ear.

His little brother has skipped the steps entirely and has jumped from the porch to the ground. He will be hugging our homecoming soldier with just a few more leaps.

But the little dog will beat little brother there.

Our soldier's father, pipe in hand is looking out the door, just a couple of steps behind mother and the girls.

The man repairing the roof of the porch has taken leave of his task for a few minutes to turn and speak to our soldier as well.

All the neighbors in this tight knit community are calling his name. Neighbors are standing on their own porches, leaning out windows and even peering over the fence to see and welcome our homecoming hero. Even the boys climbing trees stop to notice and acknowledge our hero's return.

Every home has, displayed in a window, a placard with one or more blue stars on a field of white and a red border. I do not know what these are called, but I assume that they confer that the family living inside has a serviceman fighting in the war.

Those families will also breathe a sigh of relief when their heroes return home, safe and sound.

The first person we notice, stilll waiting quietly to welcome this soldier home, is his sweetheart, the girl he left behind. She is waiting patiently at the corner of the house, possibly unseen and certainly unnoticed by his family. She is patiently waiting her turn, just as she patiently waited for his return.

He is doing a valiant job of concentrating on his family when we know he also wants to hug his sweetheart. Maybe that is the contrast in the painting.

Rockwell captured every emotion in this painting. He also captured and recorded every detail, right down to the laundry drying in the breeze on the clothesline.


Norman Rockwell: The Homecoming

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Norman Rockwell's The Homecoming (1945)
(Image Only) Copyright © 1945 Saturday Evening Post & Curtis Publishing Company



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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.

More at BrainyQuote.

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Norman Rockwell Christmas and Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Galleries are open.

Norman Rockwell's painting, A Drum for Tommy or Santa with Drum, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman on 12/17/1921
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