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Norman Rockwell Biography
1953 Through 1978

The Stockbridge Years: 1953 through 1978

Norman Rockwell Biography (continued): In 1956, Norman Rockwell again traveled around the world. This time he was traveling by clipper ship. The cruise was expressly for the purpose of painting and sketching an advertising series for Pan Am.

On February 6, 1959, Rockwell and his wife, Mary, appeared for an interview on the television show Person to Person.

Later in 1959, Rockwell's wife and mother of his children, Mary, died.

1960 saw Rockwell publishes his autobiography, Norman Rockwell, My Adventures As An Illustrator, in collaboration with his son Thomas.

Norman Rockwell painted his Triple Self Portrait for the February 13, 1960 Saturday Evening Post cover.

Rockwell participated in Peggy Worthington Best's sketch class held in Stockbridge.

Rockwell also met Mary Punderson in poetry reading class during this time.
Photograph of Norman Rockwell in his Studio

Norman Rockwell in his Studio
Photo available at Art.com

In 1961, Norman Rockwell married Mary (Molly) Punderson.

Also, in 1961, Rockwell made an appearance on Art Linkletter's House Party for an interview. The episode aired December 8, 1961.

On December 14, 1963, the last Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover was published, Portrait of John F. Kennedy.

In 1964, Look magazine published its first Rockwell illustrations. He painted works for Look for the next decade.

Rockwell also accepted a contract to illustrate Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanacks with the Heritage Press.

During the next ten years, Rockwell traveled extensively with his new wife Molly.

In 1965, Rockwell completed a series of paintings chronicling man's travels to the moon for Look magazine.

Rockwell also received an honorary diploma from Mamaroneck High School even though he left at age sixteen.
Norman Rockwell Photograph in Stagecoach - 1966

Norman Rockwell in
the movie Stagecoach
Photo available at Art.com

In 1966, Rockwell traveled to Hollywood, California to help promote the movie, Stagecoach. He also painted portraits of principal stars of the movie. Portraits included Ann-Margret, Red Buttons, Mike Connors, Alex Cord, Bing Crosby, Robert Cummings, Van Heflin, Slim Pickens and Stefanie Powers. Rockwell also had a small part in the movie as a Townsman (see photo.)

In 1967, he collaborated with his wife Molly to produce a children's book, Willie Was Different.

"Willie Was Different is an absorbing children's story and features a young thrush whose tendency toward genius leads him to seek out a different life and sing the greatest songs he can."
-From Amazon.com.

In 1970, Thomas Buechener's book, Norman Rockwell: Artist & Illustrator was published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc, New York.

1972 saw Bernard Danenberg Galleries in New York hosting a major sixty-year retrospective exhibition of Norman Rockwell paintings.

In 1973, Norman Rockwell established an art trust to preserve his art collection and placed it under the custodianship of the Old Corner House in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This eventually became the Norman Rockwell Museum of Stockbridge, Mass.

Also in 1973, the film, Norman Rockwell's World... An American Dream, won an Oscar from the Academy Awards in the category Best Short Subject, Live Action Films. Rockwell starred as himself in the film.

In 1976, Rockwell made his last trip abroad to visit his son Peter in Rome.

Later that year, American Bicentennial celebrations honored the eighty-two year old artist. He also painted a bicentennial cover for American Artist magazine. The painting featured the Liberty Bell and a self-portrait.

His final Boy Scouts of America calendar was also published in 1976.

Stockbridge, Massachusetts also honored Rockwell with a parade in 1976.

In 1977, Rockwell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President Gerald R. Ford. This honor was in recognition of his "vivid and affectionate portraits of our country."

Norman Rockwell died peacefully at his home in Stockbridge on November 8, 1978. He was survived by his widow, Mary Punderson Rockwell, by his sons Jarvis, Thomas and Peter and by seven grandchildren. He is also survived by his legacy of timeless artwork that has been and will continue to be enjoyed throughout the ages.

A life as big and full as Rockwell's can't be told on only one page.

Norman Rockwell Biography, page one (1894-1917)...

Norman Rockwell Biography, page two (1918-1936)...

Norman Rockwell Biography, page three (1938-1953)...

Norman Rocwell Biography, page four (1953-1978)...

Remember to check back often.

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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.

More at BrainyQuote.

Rockwell Favorites

Doctor and the Doll
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Doctor and the Doll
Santa at His Desk
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Santa at His Desk
Before the Shot
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Before the Shot
Game Called Because of Rain
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Game Called Because of Rain (Three Umpires)
Freedom of Speech
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Freedom of Speech
Freedom from Want
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Freedom from Want
No Swimming
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No Swimming
The Runaway
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The Runaway
Girl at the Mirror
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Girl at the Mirror
Tattoo Artist
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Tattoo Artist
Puppy Love
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Puppy Love
(Little Spooners)

Norman Rockwell Christmas and Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Galleries are open.

Norman Rockwell's painting, A Drum for Tommy or Santa with Drum, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman on 12/17/1921
Norman Rockwell Santa Claus
Gallery is open!

By Keith McDonald
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