Boy Musician by Norman Rockwell
May 1919 Issue of American
Boy Musician, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of American published May 1919.
This was the third picture by Rockwell to appear on the American Magazine cover. American Magazine only published seven Rockwell illustrated covers, between 1918 and 1923.
Rockwell only submitted to this and other smaller magazines after the publishers of the larger magazines had declined to publish the illustration.
Probably, the smaller magazines desired Rockwell's signature and art on the cover to provide a boost in newstand sales. The artist was already very popular by the time this cover appeared.
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. Of course, his career confirmed this.
The location of the original oil painting and even whether it still exists is unknown.
The original cover price of twenty-five cents was fairly reasonable for a monthly published magazine of the era. The weekly publications of the time, such as the Post, Life and the Literary Digest were usually five cents.
In this painting, Rockwell visits a familiar theme.
An enthusiastic boy is playing a lively tune on his flute. His facial expression implies that he is really enjoying his own music. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that joy is the essential ingredient in learning to play a musical instrument.
This painting was only one of numerous Norman Rockwell magazine covers;
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
He appears to be struggling to remember his lessons. Looking up and to the right actually stimulates memory. So he is trying to remember what he has learned.
The boy's mother, in contrast, appears less than enthusiastic. She clearly has a pained look on her face. She is attempting to block the sound by plugging her ears. Curiously enough, Rockwell painted her with her pinkie finger extended, very lady-like.
How much more can she take? Rockwell should have done next month's American cover with Mother hiding the flute in a closet.
Copyright © 1919 American Magazine
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