The Optician by Norman Rockwell
May 19, 1956 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
The Optician, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published May 19, 1956. This is another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for all the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's 290th 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 1956. In 1956, there were five Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting, 38.875 x 32 inches or 99 x 81.5 cm, is part of the collection of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland.
This painting also appears in three Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
Two studies also appear in the Norman Rockwell Catalogue on pages 209 and 210.
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 captures one of the things we dislike about growing older.
It never fails. As we grow older, our eyesight starts changing. Some of us cannot see far away with enough clarity to get our schoolwork accomplished.
This boy may be having trouble seeing the blackboard at school. Or he may be visiting this glasses doctor because he cannot see the baseball from a distance.
Whatever the reason, he seems really unhappy that he needs glasses.
It doesn't matter whether he will be a better ball player now that he can see the ball.
What matters is that now his friends will be calling him Four-eyes and other names that kids use when they pick on the kids who wear spectacles.
Of course, some of those kids will think that he looks smarter, too. That doesn't enter his mind now, in this moment of truth.
The Optician 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 sparcity of detail in this professional office allows Rockwell to focus on the characters.
The doctor is absolutely delighted to be able to help the young man see more clearly, even if his customer is not happy at all.
The boy was modeled by Kenneth Ingram, a boy Rockwell used in many other illustrations. The optician was modeled by Clarence Berger.
Norman Rockwell's The Optician (1956)
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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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