Lion and Zookeeper by Norman Rockwell
January 9, 1954 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Lion and Zookeeper, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published January 9, 1954. This is another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for all the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's 279th 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 first cover for The Post in 1954. In 1954, there were six Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting, 11 x 10.5 inches or 28 x 26 cm, is part of a private collection.
This painting also appears in four Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
One study also appears in the Norman Rockwell Catalogue on page 196.
Pristine original copies of this magazine cover sell for respectable sums on eBay, when it is offered. And to think it only cost fifteen cents originally! And it was mint condition then, too.
Lion and Zookeeper
This is one of those classic Norman Rockwell images that just makes you smile.
That poor lion! He can only watch as the zookeeper eats his lunch.
That sandwich is abslutely dripping with meat. Part of it looks like it might actually fall out of the sandwich.
The zookeeper, for his part, is unaware of the lion's desires to taste his lunch.
He is intent on reading his newspaper and drinking his coffee.
Lion and Zookeeper 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 story is told that Rockwell wanted the lion to be more desireous of the zookeeper's lunch.
However the lion had just been fed a short while before Rockwell and his photographer's arrival.
The funny thing is that Rockwell tried to arouse the lion kore by roaring at him. He left that day with a sore throat. He couldn't affect the lion's demeanor.
Norman Rockwell's Lion and Zookeeper (1954)
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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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