Portrait of Nehru by Norman Rockwell
January 19, 1963 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Portrait of Nehru, a Norman Rockwell painting , appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published January 19, 1963. This is another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for all the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's 319th overall out of 322 total paintings that were published on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell's career with the Post, spanning 47 years, began with his first cover illustration, Boy With Baby Carriage in 1916 and continued through his last, Portrait of John F. Kennedy, in 1963.
This was also the first cover for The Post in 1963. In 1963, there were five Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published. One of the covers, the final Rockwell image on the Post cover, was a reprint of the 1960 Portrait of John F. Kennedy, republished in memoriam.
The original oil on posterboard painting, 20 x 17.5 inches or 51 x 44.5 cm, is part of a private collection.
This painting also appears in three Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
One study is also reproduced in Norman Rockwell Catalogue on page 238.
Pristine original copies of this magazine cover bring good prices on eBay, when it is available. And to think it only cost twenty cents originally! And it was mint condition then, too.
Portrait of Nehru
When Norman Rockwell first met with the Indian Prime Minister, the subject of the painting was wearing a dark suit.
The next day, when Rockwell and his wife Molly, his photographer, met with the Prime Minister, he was also wearing a dark suit. This occurred during the cooler months when darker clothing was the norm.
Rockwell asked Nehru to please put on different attire. He explained that the American people would wonder why he did not dress like a maharaji, if he was depicted in a dark suit.
Nehru obliged Rockwell and the American public by changing clothing.
The original painting shows much more foreground and background detail than what was published on the Post cover.
The original painting features a greater portion of Nehru, not just his head and shoulders. In the original, Rockwell show him wearing a red rose on his chest. We can also see part of the back of the chair Nehru was sitting in.
The parts I really like about the original painting are two stylized representations, one on each side of Nehru's head. They represent his dual roles as Prime Minister. Ons shows a warrior and one shows a peacemaker.
Portrait of Nehru 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 background shows different people from all walks of Indian life, whom Nehru is responsible for.A few of them seem to be speaking to him.
One interesting aspect of the making of this painting is that Norman and Molly also were able to meet Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi. She was also a big fan of Rockwell's art, having a whole room lined with Rockwell's art for her children to enjoy.
Norman Rockwell's Portrait of Nehru (1963)
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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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