Art Critic by Norman Rockwell
April 16, 1955 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Art Critic, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published April 16, 1955. This is another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for all the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's 286th 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 1955. In 1955, there were four Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting, 39.5 x 36.26 inches or 100.5 x 92 cm, is part of the collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum of Stockbridge, MA. It is part of the traveling exhibit American Chronicles: The Art Of Norman Rockwell. I was privileged to see it in Raleigh, North Carolina at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
This painting also appears in eight Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
Several studies also appear in the Norman Rockwell Catalogue on page 202 through 208.
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.
Norman Rockwell once again brings the paintings inside his painting to life in this image.
A favorite technique to add character and humor to his paintings was Rockwell's flair for incorporating a pianting or photograph into the composition. Then he brings that inner artwork to life as it were.
Rockwell has employed this exchanging of reality for fantasy several times over his career.
This young artist is studying the locket perched atop the bosom of the lady in the painting on the left. He is apparently trying to master the technique used to paint it.
The three gentlemen, Dutch cavaliers, in the canvas next door look somewhat flabbergasted at his impudence. Maybe they are also slightly jealous. They are probably wondering what he is looking at through his magnifier.
The lady in the painting, however, seems flattered at the attention. She is glancing sideways at the young man. And she is smiling.
Certainly all paintings enjoy being looked at and admired.
Those gilded frames that Rockwell painted for the two paintings are very ornate. There is a lot of detail in those frames.
Art Critic 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.
In the actual painting itself, the young artist's palette actually has dollops of paint on it. That feature was unexpected.
The young artist was modeled by Jerry Rockwell. The lady whose portrait he is examining was modeled by Rockwell's wife and Jerry's mother, Mary Rockwell.
That relationship just adds to the humor of the painting for me.
Norman Rockwell's Art Critic (1955)
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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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