Norman Rockwell Biography
The Early Years: 1894 through 1921
Norman Rockwell Biography: Norman Percevel Rockwell was born February 3, 1894 to Waring and Nancy Hill Rockwell in New York City.
In 1903, Mr. and Mrs. Rockwell, along wth young Norman and his older brother Jarvis, moved from the city to Mamaroneck, New York. Even at a young age, Rockwell showed aptitude and interest in art and illustration. One of his earliest recollections was drawing Charles Dickens characters while his father read Dickens stories to him.
In 1909, at the age of 15, Norman Rockwell left Mamaroneck High School to attend the National Academy of Design in New York City. Shortly thereafter, he entered the Art Students League, attending classes taught by George Bridgeman and Thomas Fogarty.
Norman Rockwell was such a hard worker, even at age 15, that his fellow students referred to him as "the Deacon."
In 1912, Rockwell's first published works appeared in C.H. Claudy's Tell-Me-Why Stories About Mother Nature and, later, Gabrielle Jackson's Maid of Middies' Haven.
In 1913, Norman Rockwell received his first major position: art editor of Boys' Life magazine. Boys' Life published several of his earliest illustrations on its cover in 1913. As art editor, he also published many of his own works on the inside pages of Boys' Life to illustrate articles. His work also appeared in other children's publications, such as St. Nicholas.
Rockwell's first magazine cover illustration, Scout at Ship's Wheel, appeared on the cover of the September 1913 edition of Boys' Life. He illustrated eight of the next nine editions and added two more in 1915, for a total of twelve cover illustrations in just under two years. He retained this consistent work ethic throughout his career.
In 1915, Rockwell moved to New Rochelle, New York, and established his own studio along with studio mate, Clyde Forsythe.
In 1916, one of the major milestones in Rockwell's career occurs: his first Saturday Evening Post cover, Boy with Baby Carriage was published on May 20, 1916. Just two weeks later, Norman Rockwell's second Post cover, Circus Barker and Strongman, was published.
Incredibly, these were the first of 321 different covers over a forty-seven year span with the most prominent publication of its time.
Read more about The Saturday Evening Post and Norman Rockwell.
Rockwell's work was later published in several other major publications of the era including Life (1917), The Country Gentleman (1917) and The Literary Digest (1918). This development was largely due to his increased exposure and appreciation on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.
After the beginnings of success embodied by being published by The Post, he asked his sweetheart, Irene O'Connor, to marry him. At first, she refused, but later she accepted. (In 1921, he painted Irene on a Literary Digest cover, Mother Tucking Children Into Bed (or Mother's Little Angels).
Norman and Irene's union produced no children.
A life as big and full as Rockwell's can't be told on only one page.
Norman Rockwell Biography, page two (1918-1936)...
Norman Rockwell Biography, page three (1938-1953)...
Norman Rocwell Biography, page four (1953-1978)...
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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.
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