Till the Boys Come Home by Norman Rockwell
August 15, 1918 Issue of Life Magazine
Till the Boys Come Home, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of Life Magazine published August 15, 1918.
An alternate title for this illustration is Women Sitting by Edge of Sea.
This was the tenth cover by Rockwell to appear on Life Magazine. A Rockwell painting appeared on Life magazine's cover a total of ten times in 1918 and twenty-eight times in all.
Till the Boys Come Home
In this painting Norman Rockwell reminds us that romance was another of the casualties of World War One.
Most of the boys had signed up and gone off to war. The ones that didn't go to war were probably undesirable to most of the girls. This was the mindset that prevailed at that time.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
In this painting we see four young ladies on a hill beside the beach. In the background, nearer the beach, many more girls are looking out to sea. In the extreme background, there is a "blip" on the horizon. Is that blip a troop carrier?
The focus of this painting, however, remains the four young ladies in the foreground. Two have been busying themselves with knitting. These two look the most forlorn. In fact, one is slumped over.
The news at this point is history has been encouraging for these young ladies. The effort on the front has been successful for the Allies. Germany's defeat was imminent. The boys who survived the war and became men would be home soon.
The girl who is slumped almost looks as if she may be crying. The letter in the extreme foreground appears to be addressed to Mrs. James Smith. The first name is hard to make out, even in closeup. What is unmistakable is the stamp "CENSOR" across the front of the letter.
Has this letter informed the slumped lady of unfortunate, or even tragic, circumstances? Is that why these four have separated themselves from the rest on the beach?
Rockwell doesn't paint tragedy at this stage of his career. So we will have to assume the best. These four are on this hill so they can have a better view of the blip. Whatever it is.
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Do you have a personal story about this painting? Do you know the model personally? Do you have a different take on the commentary?
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