Foller the Leader by Norman Rockwell
November 15, 1919 Issue of The Country Gentleman
Foller the Leader, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman published November 15, 1919.
You may prefer Follow the Leader if spelling is one of your passions. Another alternate title is the more descriptive Boy Walking Fence Rail.
This painting was the sixteenth Country Gentleman cover by Norman Rockwell. Rockwell illustrated thirty-five covers for The Country Gentleman starting in August 1917, the first Cousin Reginald cover, and continuing through April 1922.
This is one of Rockwell's most endearing and enduring images. It has been republished many times over the years on several other magazine covers, including The Saturday Evening Post.
Foller the Leader
Once again, Rockwell displays his mastery at illustrating the joys of boyhood. I'm sure that whenever he got stuck thinking of a idea for a painting, he just delved into his memories of growing up.
This scene shows us four boys at play. We can almost hear the words "Betcha can't do this!"
This painting was only one of 34 Norman Rockwell Country Gentleman covers; here is the list of more Norman Rockwell Country Gentleman scans.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
The "leader" is already walking the fence rail. He is balancing by holding his arms out from his side. He is also using his hat for additional balance.
Knowing Rockwell's penchant for authenticity, we have to wonder whether his model had to actually balance on a fence rail. Or did he just pose like this standing flat on the ground?
The lead boy has almost reached the fence post where he can regain his balance and take a slight break from his acrobatic display.
The first "follower" is just now climbing up onto the fence rail. The look on his face shows his excitement with this game. He will walk this fence rail or fall off. No hesitation on his part.
The boy on the bottom right looks like he also wants to walk the fence post. He will wait his turn after the second boy. Too many boys will break a fence rail, you know.
The fourth boy is shown in the foreground with his back turned to us. We cannot see the expression on his face. From my perspective, he looks younger and thinner that the other boys. He just may join the other boys on the fence, but we are left with that little mystery to work out to our own satisfaction .
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