Shadow Artist by Norman Rockwell
February 7, 1920 Issue of The Country Gentleman
Shadow Artist, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman published February 7, 1920.
The Country Gentleman was published by Curtis Publishing Company. Curtis Publishing also published The Saturday Evening Post.
This painting was the eighteenth 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.
Before the advent of television, people, especially children, entertained themselves. Radio was a popular diversion, but not all homes had a radio. Most homes, however, did have light, whether electric light, a lantern or just a candle. Thus most homes also had shadows.
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 older gentleman in this illustration may be a father, grandfather or uncle. First and foremost tonight, he is an entertainer.
Tonight, he is the shadow artist. He is able to make birds, animals and people appear on the wall behind him using only his hands and light from a lamp.
His audience seems totally enthralled and spell-bound by his performace. Is this the first time they have viewed his talents or does he perform new shadows from time to time?
In the dead of winter, when this cover was published, being entertaining was an important skill. Being willing to be entertained was also just as important.
Norman Rockwell usually painted topical current images to which a majority of his audience could relate. No doubt they enjoyed his paintings almost as much as these children enjoyed their shadow artist.
Latest news: You will be able to see this painting and others at the Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute from July 2, 2010 through January 2, 2011. This painting is from the collection of movie producer George Lucas. More details here.
Copyright © 1920 The Country Gentleman and Curtis Publishing Company
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