Promising Talent by Norman Rockwell
June 1917 Issue of American Boy
Promising Talent, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of American Boy published June 1917.
An alternate title for this painting is Boys Singing and Playing Harmonica.
This was the second picture by Rockwell to appear on the American Boy cover. American Boy only published five Rockwell covers, between 1916 and 1920.
This painting was also reproduced in Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt on page 5.
Rockwell only submitted to this and other smaller magazines after the publishers of the larger magazines had declined to publish the cover illustration.
Clearly, Rockwell's first choice of publication was The Saturday Evening Post. He believed that the Post cover was America's biggest showcase window for artists. And his career confirmed this.
Here we see Rockwell at his best, painting boys having good-natured fun.
This painting was only one of numerous Norman Rockwell magazine covers;
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
These two boys are enjoying making music together. They are enjoying honing their talents as a musical team. They are also annoying their mother.
The singer is making a great show with his hand and face. Reaching for the sky must help him hit those higher notes. Or so he believes anyway.
The harmonica player is sitting in a rocking chair. In addition to playing the harmonica, he is keeping time as the rhythm section by stomping his feet. He has rocked the rug across the floor.
The mother is standing in the background. She has poked a finger in each ear. She is not really enjoying the music.
We do not know whether she just doesn't like music or if they are really that bad. At least she cares enough about their feelings to just stand there in the background.
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