Norman Rockwell - New Television Antenna
November 5, 1949 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
This painting by Norman Rockwell, New Television Antenna, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published November 5, 1949. This is yet another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for the ages.
Another title for this painting is New Television Set.
This painting was Rockwell's fifth cover for The Post in 1949. In 1949, there were a total of five Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
This painting was also Rockwell's 262nd overall of 322 total pictures 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.
The original oil on canvas painting, 46.5 x 43 inches or 118 by 109 cm, is currently part of the collection of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The painting was given by Rockwell to his friend, Mr. Ned Crowell, whose widow in turn gave it to the museum.
This painting also appears in five Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
I have seen pristine original copies of this magazine cover sell for over one hundred dollars on eBay. And to think it only cost fifteen cents originally! And it was mint condition at that time, too.
New Television Antenna
This classic Norman Rockwell painting shows a new television enthusiast having his antenna installed.
Members of the general public started buying televisions and, with them, television antennae, during the late 1940's. The subject of this painting could not have been more topical. No doubt, lots of Post readers could relate to the problems associated with making the new TV sets properly receive ths signal from their local station.
We can see through the open window just how clear the picture is on the new TV. It doesn't look clear to me!
The man leaning out of the window looks very excited and appears to be telling the antenna installer on the roof that the picture is coming in good. Maybe it just looks better than it did before.
This scene takes place in the area around Adams Street in Los Angeles.
Rockwell was fond of Los Angeles; after all, he met his wife Mary in LA on his very first trip there in 1930.
Rockwell and his family spent many winters during the 1940's in Los Angeles. It was a pleasant break from the harsh Vermont winters back home in Arlington.
This neighborhood was, no doubt, familiar environs for the artist. While wintering in Los Angeles, he became artist-in-residence at the Otis Art Institute which later became the Los Angeles County Art Institute.
Two of his students helped Rockwell by modeling for this painting. Robert H. Horton, who was an architecture student at the time, posed for the part of the television serviceman. Jack Farman, another Otis Art Institute student, was the model for the elderly customer.
At this point of his career, Rockwell had been using photographs to compose his paintings' layouts. This allowed him to become more elaborate and detailed in the backgrounds of his paintings. Those details shine through in New Television Antenna.
The house pictured is characteristic of the large Victorians found in the Adams Street neighborhood where the picture was painted.
The house may have since been restored to its original glory. In 1949, it was showing already signs of wear.
The detailed woodwork under the peak of the roof has been neglected by the homeowner for a while. Only two of the spokes remain in position. Other details in the woodwork have started to be broken or worn.
New Television Antenna 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.
One of the shingles on the siding has cracked in half and the loose half has fallen off.
The flowers in the window box look healthy and vibrant, better, in fact, than the window box itself.
Still, the man looks happy. In fact, no other television antennas are visible on any other roofs.
So, it is not just a new television set; it may be the first television set in the neighborhood.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1949 Saturday Evening Post & Curtis Publishing Company
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Do you have a personal story about New Television Antenna? Do you know the models 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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