First Signs Of Spring by Norman Rockwell
March 22, 1947 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
First Signs Of Spring, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published March 22, 1947. This is another favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic enduring image of the world Rockwell painted.
Alternate titles are Gardener with Hoe, First Flower and First Crocus.
This painting was Rockwell's 245th 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 1947. In 1947, there were seven Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting, 22 x 17 inches or 56 x 43 cm, is part of a private collection.
This painting also appears in three 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.
First Signs Of Spring
Giclee Prints on Archival Paper:
In this painting, Norman Rockwell shows us what we all want to see after a hard winter.
Rockwell was born and raised in New York. Then he moved to Arlington, Vermont and then to Stockbridge, Massachussetts.
So he knew about hard winters... and the first days of spring.
These crocus bulbs are usually the first flowers to blossom. They generally burst forth from the ground as soon as it thaws enough to allow them to stick their heads up.
So crocus blooms are usually the first sign that things are warming up.
These bulbs depicted were planted by this man not terribly long ago, probably in the fall. Notice the plant marker denoting where they were planted is still in place.
Rockwell painted this painting during the coldest part of the Vermont winter. No live crocuses could be found for a model. Rockwell persisted searching until a New York City shopkeeper who specialized in out of season flowers located the desired flowers.
The crocuses were delivered to Rockwell's studio in the dead of winter. The price for the live crocuses was Fifteen dollars and fifty cents ($15.50). That sounds reasonable enough until you consider that adjusting for inflation, that is almost $150 in 2010 buying power. Ouch! What price, authenticity?
First Signs Of Spring 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.
The man in the picture has ventured outside. His task is to plant the tree that occupies the left margin of the painting. He has not even unwrapped that tree.
He will wisely dig the hole before he unwraps it.
One thing I do not understand. This man is still wearing a sweater, white shirt, khaki pants, bowtie and jacket. Is he not concerned that he will get his good clothes dirty while he is working in the garden? Does he have no old clothes that he is comfortable getting down in the dirt while wearing?
Did everybody dress up to play in the dirt in 1947?
Norman Rockwell's First Signs Of Spring (1947)
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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.
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