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Norman Rockwell Santa Claus Paintings Gallery

Favorites and Rarities


Norman Rockwell Santa Claus paintings perfectly capture the spirit of the jolliest elf.

Children want to believe in Santa Claus just as fervently as we adults want to believe in Peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.
-Norman Rockwell

Over the years of his active career, Rockwell painted Santa over thirty times. I am not counting all the paintings portraying someone dressing up as Santa. This also neglects the many Norman Rockwell Christmas paintings that do not include jolly Saint Nicholas.

The most famous Norman Rockwell Santa Claus paintings, of course, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. The Post was Rockwell's preferred vehicle. The Post cover was a picture window into which over a million Americans peered each week. A lot of thought and energy was invested into composing Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post covers.

This gallery of Norman Rockwell Santa Claus paintings will be spread over several pages. Please contact me if you have any suggestions.

Without further ado, here they are. I have attempted to present them in chronological order.




Santa and Scouts in Snow - 1913

Norman Rockwell Boy's Life cover published December 1913. The title is Santa and Scouts in Snow
Norman Rockwell's
Santa and Scouts in Snow
(Boys' Life December 1913)

This is the first published Norman Rockwell Santa Claus painting that I know of. Surely, Rockwell had painted or at least sketched Saint Nick before this time. But this was the first such work that was actually published.

The painting appeared on the cover of Boys' Life magazine in December 1913. Rockwell was the art editor for the magazine at the time. In addition to the cover, he illustrated several articles in the issue as well. He also screened and approved the illustrations of other artists for publication in the magazine.

Rockwell was barely nineteen when this painting was first published.

His developing sense of humor is evident in this painting. Santa has fallen. There are wrapped presents strewn all over in the snow. His magic bag of presents is shown in the background. And the Boy Scouts are helping him get up. Santa need not look so surprised. After all, that's what the Boy Scouts do.

Had the Boy Scouts not shown up, Christmas might have been late in 1913.

Though undoubtedly, there was a grain of self-interest involved, this was still a mighty big good deed for these Scouts.

Man Playing Santa - 1916

The Norman Rockwell painting, entitled Man Playing Santa, from the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published December 9, 1916
Norman Rockwell's
Man Playing Santa
(Saturday Evening Post
December 9, 1916)

While this is not technically a Norman Rockwell Santa Claus painting, I have included it here. One reason is that this grandfather closely resembles Santa, especially from the angle that Rockwell painted.

The main reason I have included it, though, is because I like it and it is significant to Rockwell. This was Rockwell's first Christmas painting on the cover of the magazine that served as a linchpin to build his career upon, The Saturday Evening Post. This was the first of the many Norman Rockwell Christmas paintings that included Santa paintings that set the standard for every Santa to follow.

One of the best parts of looking at these old Rockwell paintings is looking at the details in the background. The background in this illustration shows us the toys of the era. All the toys are simple. Tho most complex of the whole lot is the pole climber on the left hand side.

This is the only "dress-up as Santa" painting included in the Santa Gallery.

Other Rockwell paintings on the theme of men dressing as Santa include Santa on Train and The Discovery.

A Drum for Tommy - 1921

Norman Rockwell's painting, A Drum for Tommy or Santa with Drum, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman on 12/17/1921
Norman Rockwell's
A Drum For Tommy
(Country Gentleman
December 27, 1921)

This is one of the best loved and most well-known of all Norman Rockwell Santa Claus paintings.

A Drum for Tommy, also called Santa with Drum, is also the only Rockwell Santa to appear on the pages of The Country Gentleman.

Rockwell shows Santa at his jolliest in this painting. You can almost hear him say "Ho, Ho, Ho!" when you view it. You can feel Santa's joy from fulfilling Tommy's wish for a drum. That's bound to be a great feeling.

And just look at Santa's bag. It is overflowing with gifts for other children as well. Just from our little peek, both a horn and a ball are visible.

Maybe Tommy should have asked for more stuff. Or maybe, just maybe, he received just what he wanted.



Continued on page 2 of the Norman Rockwell Santa Claus Gallery...




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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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Santa's Good Boys
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Playing Santa
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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
Norman Rockwell Santa Claus
Gallery is open!







By Keith McDonald
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