Boy with Baby Carriage by Norman Rockwell
May 20, 1916 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Boy with Baby Carriage, the very first Norman Rockwell painting on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, appeared on May 20, 1916. The painting was an instant success.
This painting is also called Salutation and Home Duty.
The original oil on canvas painting, 20.75 x 18.625 inches or 53 x 47 cm, is currently housed at the Norman Rockwell Museum of Massachusetts.
This painting also appears in seven Rockwell commentary books. It appears
This illustration propelled Rockwell on the road to financial success, artistic recognition and popular acclaim. Rockwell viewed the Post as the best place to display what his talents and hard work could accomplish.
Nervous Norman Rockwell
Rockwell had aspired to greater things than having his paintings published in and on children's magazines for some time before 1916. Yet he wondered if he had the stuff.
At the urging and constructive criticism of the cartoonist Clyde Forsythe, Rockwell painted two illustrations, Boy with Baby Carriage and Circus Barker and Strongman, for presentaion to the art editor of the Post.
Rockwell was very nervous about presenting his paintings to the editor of The Saturday Evening Post, George Horace Lorimer. Mr. Lorimer had a reputation of being very no-nonsense. Rockwell actually worried about being tossed out of Lorimer's office.
Well, he needn't have worried. Mr. Lorimer loved the two paintings Rockwell presented and bought them on the spot for $75.00 each. That would be over $1000.00 each in today's money. Quite a sum for a virtually unknown artist!
Indeed, that meeting was the start of a relationship that lasted 47 years and over 300 paintings!
Boy with Baby Carriage or Salutation
The picture shows three young boys on a Sunday afternoon.
Two boys are off to play baseball. They are dressed in baseball uniforms with baseball caps and baseball gloves. Both are making goofy faces and gestures to the third boy.
These boys are off to enjoy a day of what boys like best. They are off to play baseball for a while.
After baseball is played out for the day, they will find some other way to pass the time.
They make go to the creek and fish or catch frogs. They may build a fort. They may play pirates. They may even play soldier.
But they will not be baby sitting!
The third boy, dressed in his Sunday best clothes, has his baby sister in a baby carriage taking a stroll. He also has a baby bottle in his breast pocket. He looks livid about the other boys' demeaning gestures.
Judging by the way his hat strap is flying backwards, the third boy is pushing the stroller past his tormentors as fast as he can!
Boy with Baby Carriage was only one of 322 Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers; Here is the list of Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
How cruel fate can be sometimes.
I'm sure there are many emotions going through his head. Anger, frustration, jealousy... You can probably think of even more.
When he was painting the three boys in this illustration, Rockwell only used one model, Billy Paine. Billy was Rockwell's favorite model for many years. He appeared in many of Rockwell's works.
In an interview published in the November 1930 American magazine, Rockwell remembered Billy Paine.
Norman Rockwell's Boy with Baby Carriage or Salutation (1916)
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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?
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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