National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, District of Columbia features one original Norman Rockwell painting in its permanent portrait collection.
Of course, this museum offers its visitors much more than the sole Norman Rockwell portrait.
For starters, the National Portrait Gallery is the home of the only complete US Presidential portrait gallery outside of the White House.
The Presidential collection notably includes the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington, painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1796. The NPG is the permanent home to this American icon.
Needless to say, the National Portrait Gallery is home to many diverse portraits, including Elvis Presley, Paul Revere, Bob Hope, Greta Garbo, Sitting Bull, Meriwether Lewis and Babe Ruth. Indeed, a very diverse collection of portraits, numbering more than 50,000 in all, though not all are on display all the time, of course.
But I will be visiting for the Rockwell portrait.
Portrait of Richard Nixon
Included among the permanent collection is Portrait of Richard Nixon, painted by Norman Rockwell in 1968.
Rockwell later intimated that he had painted in such a way as to flatter President Nixon when he painted his portrait. And he painted it that way on purpose. The reason, he admitted, was because he felt that the President's appearance was annoyingly ambiguous for his brush. If he was going to stray in his portrayal of the President, he reasoned, he wanted that divergence to be in a direction that would be somewhat more pleasing to his subject.
The Portrait of Richard Nixon was donated to the people of the United States of America by the Richard Nixon Foundation in 1972.
Portraits of Norman Rockwell
While I was researching this page, I also came across one pencil portrait of Norman Rockwell and one photographic portrait of Norman Rockwell. It is somewhat involved to show them to you. I was unable to find a webpage at which to point a static link. So I will have to guide you through the search results. Are you up to it?
First click here to search the NPG portraits listings. (Opens new window.)
Next click on CAP Portrait Search and enter "Norman Rockwell" in the "Sitter" field of search box and click search. This will bring up 8 entries of known portraits of Norman Rockwell. Most of these images are "restricted" and are not available for viewing online. The ones you can view have a little "camera" icon out to the left.
The third item returned for the search is a 12 11/16 inch x 9 inch pencil on paper portrait of Rockwell by Everett Raymond Kinstler. The portrait was drawn in 1965. The catalog number is "NPG.92.47". It was given to the NPG on May 5, 1992 by the artist, Everett Raymond Kinstler.
The seventh item on the list is a 13 7/8 inch x 10 13/16 inch 1968 photographic portrait by Garry Camp Burdick. This gelatin silver print on paper shows Norman Rockwell in his studio, framed by his easel and brushes. The NPG catalog number is "NPG.2004.58". It was given to the NPG on June 1, 2004 by the artist, Garry Camp Burdick.
Garry Camp Burdick, by the way, has a wonderful website, http://www.garrycampburdick.com (opens in new window), that shows a large collection of photographs that he took of Norman Rockwell. It is well worth your time to visit this website.
About The National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute
If you have an extended stay in Washington, DC, planned, consider also visiting the Washington area museums that feature Norman Rockwell paintings (among other things):
Gallery hours are 11:30AM to 7:00PM every day. The Gallery is closed on Christmas Day.
Admission is free.
The Museum is located at Eighth and F Streets, NW, Washington, D.C. above the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail station (Red, Yellow and Green lines).
National Portrait Gallery
Phone (202) 633-8300
Click here to visit the website. (Opens new window)
After scouring the nation for every Norman Rockwell Museum,
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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