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Boy on Trunk by Norman Rockwell

October 1913 Issue of Boys' Life



Boy on Trunk, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of Boys' Life published October 1913.

I also like to call this painting "The Thinker," because the pose reminds me of Auguste Rodin's famous bronze sculpture.

This marked Rockwell's second cover publication.

Boy Scout readers had already become familiar with Rockwell through his article and story illustrations in previous editions.

Rockwell had been serving as the art director of Boys' Life since 1913. This was 18 year old Rockwell's first job with a magazine. Before being hired by Boy's Life, he had been doing commission work, such as Christmas cards and portraits.

The first issue of Boys' Life was published in March of 1911. The magazine was still a fairly new publication in 1913. I like to believe that a large part of its early success was due to its fine young art director.

Comparing this painting to Norman Rockwell's first cover for Boy's Life, we can see his growth as an artist. He uses light much more effectively. This painting also has much more perceived depth that the earlier one.

Boy on Trunk

This boy is probably a Boy Scout since he appears on Boys' Life. He is obviously thinking. The question that leaps to mind is "What is he so deep in thought about?"
Book from October 1913 cover of Boy's Life by Norman Rockwell entitled Boy on Trunk

Norman Rockwell gives us several clues.

In my opinion, the trunk has little to do with the story behind the painting. The trunk is just the stage upon which the story to be told.

The story here concerns the boy, the book he either has read or is taking a break from reading and the stones he is arranging on the top of the trunk.

I have been unable to determine what the title of the book is, although you can see from the scan that it starts and ends with S. I also cannot quite decide what the picture on the front of the book is. Any help any reader can give on this puzzle will be greatly appreciated. Please tell me if you know or have a good clue about this book.

The next part of the story is the objects he is contemplating on top of the trunk. The rocks (or whatever they are) are arranged in lines. It almost appears that he is daydreaming about football and the "rocks" are his players. There is a pattern of lines resembling a football field drawn on top of the trunk.

Let me know if you have any other ideas on what story this painting is telling.


Rockwell Boys' Life Posters at Allposters.com

Allposters.com has the largest selection of Norman Rockwell Boys' Life Posters I have found anywhere. I have taken the liberty to find them for you. Just click on the picture you want and you will go to the order page.

Can't Wait
Can't Wait
Rockwell, Norman
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Norman Rockwell
On My Honor
Rockwell, Norman
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The Scoutmaster
The Scoutmaster
Rockwell, Norman
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A Great Moment
A Great Moment
Rockwell, Norman
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Our Heritage
Our Heritage
Rockwell, Norman
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I Will Do My Best
I Will Do My Best
Rockwell, Norman
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A Scout Is Loyal
A Scout Is Loyal
Rockwell, Norman
Buy at AllPosters.com
Norman Rockwell
The Right Way
Rockwell, Norman
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Growth of a Leader
Growth of a Leader
Rockwell, Norman
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Forward America
Forward America
Rockwell, Norman
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Homecoming (oversized postcard)
Homecoming
Rockwell, Norman
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A Scout Is Loyal
A Scout Is Loyal
Rockwell, Norman
Buy at AllPosters.com

Norman Rockwell cover for Boys' Life appearing October 1913 entitled Boy on Trunk

Norman Rockwell's Boy on Trunk (1913)
Copyright © 1913 Boys' Life

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  Scout at Ship's Wheel from the September 1913 Boys' Life cover
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Scout at Ship's Wheel
Boy With Drumstick from the November 1913 Boys' Life cover
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Boy With Drumstick
 


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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
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Gallery is open!







By Keith McDonald
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