Soda Jerk by Norman Rockwell
August 22, 1953 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Soda Jerk, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published August 22, 1953. This is yet another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for all the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's 271st 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 1953. In 1953, there were five Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting, 36 x 34 inches or 91.5 x 86.5 cm, is part of the collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.
This painting also appears in three Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
Several of the original photographs used in the production of this painting, as well as a color reproduction of the painting itself, appear in Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick on pages 116 and 117.
Pristine original copies of this magazine cover sell for big bucks on eBay, when it is offered. And to think it only cost fifteen cents originally! And it was mint condition then, too.
In this painting, Norman Rockwell shows us a six characters enjoying sodas at the local soda shop.
The charcters in the painting are three girls, two boys and a dog. Why is the dog in the soda shop? well, it is a Norman Rockwell painting, after all.
The three girls seem fascinated and enthralled by the young man working as the soda jerk. The expression on the face of the girl seated to his left looks like she positively adores him.
Rockwell's son Peter was the model for the counterman. The idea for the painting was based on Peter's recollections, observations and experiences of his summer job working at a soda fountain. The other models, except for the dog, were all Peter's classmates.
The boy at the top of the painting is sitting by himself, enjoying his soda. He appears somewhat jealous of the boy working the soda fountain. He is probably just jealous of the soda jerk's popularity with the girls.
One of my favorite details in this painting is the bandage on the finger of Peter. This detail reminds of an earlier Rockwell trademark, the bandage on the big toe of almost every barefooted boy he painted. Boys will be boys, as Norman Rockwell knew and painted.
Soda Jerk 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.
Of course, the details of the surroundings are also painted with great accuracy.
In the top right corner, we can see the jukebox. Maybe the song on the jukebox adds to the soda jerk's allure with the girls.
In the foreground, we observe that the counterman has gathered up the dirty dished. Yet he has left them on the counter to go stare in the middle girl's eyes.
Maybe his enjoyment of all the girls' attentions was why Peter had such great memories of his job as a soda jerk.
Norman Rockwell's Soda Jerk (1953)
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.
More at BrainyQuote.
Images are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders.
Graphic Files Protected by Digimarc.
Contact us for details about using our articles on your website.
The only requirements are an acknowledgement and a link.