Happy Birthday Miss Jones by Norman Rockwell
March 17, 1956 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Happy Birthday Miss Jones, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published March 17, 1956. This is another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for all the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's 289th 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 1956. In 1956, there were five Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting is part of the collection of film maker George Lucas and was on display at the Smithsonian's Museum of American Art in 2010. A pencil on joined paper study of the painting, also owned by Lucas, was also on display alongside the original painting.
This painting also appears in four Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
One study also appears in the Norman Rockwell Catalogue on page 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.
Happy Birthday Miss Jones
In this painting, Norman Rockwell captures the fondness that exists between teachers and their students.
This painting has a lot of elements going on.
First, the blackboard has been decorated with all manner of "Happy Birthday" wishes for the teacher, Miss Jones. Miss Jones was modeled by Anne Braman. "Surprise" and all the other words are spelled correctly.
Next wee see the appreciating smile on the face of the teacher. She loves these kids whether she remembers it all the time or not.
Next we take a look at Miss Jones's desk. All manner of presents adorn the front edge of the desk. We can see an orange, an apple, flowers and packages wrapped and tied with string.
Happy Birthday Miss Jones 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 last element of the painting is the school children. They are all seated at their desks like little angels.
One of the little darlings has a blackboard eraser perched on top of his head. We do not know why.
The reason for the eraser on top of the boy's head may have something to do with the eraser and chalk we see on the floor in front of the teacher.
One commentary suggests that this painting is a homage to Rockwell's favorite schoolteacher in his youth, Miss Julia Smith. Miss Smith taught him much and encouraged his artistic talents,.
Norman Rockwell's Happy Birthday Miss Jones (1956)
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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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