Boy Measuring Height by Norman Rockwell
June 16, 1917 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Boy Measuring Height, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published June 16, 1917.
An alternate title is Recruiting Officer.
This painting was Rockwell's third picture featured in 1917 and ninth overall on the cover of The Post. The Post featured Rockwell on the cover four times in 1917 and 322 times over the course of his forty-seven year career (1916-1963) with the Post.
This painting has been reproduced in four Rockwell commentary books, on page 28 of The Norman Rockwell Album, on page 268 of Norman Rockwell's America by Christopher Finch, as illustration 106 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 76 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
I have seen this original cover in pristine condition fetch over two hundred dollars on eBay. And to think it only cost five cents when it was new.
Boy Measuring Height
This was Norman Rockwell's second Post cover illustration published after the United States entered World War I. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
Rockwell's first World War I Post cover was Saluting the Flag, published on May 12, 1917.
It is not surprising that Rockwell referenced the Great War in this work. Rockwell was a master of using current events in his paintings.
This Norman Rockwell painting depicts two boys. The two boys are different ages and different sizes.
The older, bigger boy is definitely running the show.
The older boy is playing the part of Army recruiter. He is dressed in a World War I officer outfit, complete with a red sash, bandana and chaps on his calfs and ankles.
Boy Measuring Height 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.
Did World War I officers really wear red bandanas? Rockwell was a real stickler for authenticity in his illustrations, so they probably did. Either way, more color is added with the red bandana.
The older boy also carries a wooden sword strapped to his belt. His outfit is completed by a homemade medal and epaulets on the shoulder. We have seen this and other similar swords in other Norman Rockwell paintings.
The younger boy is dressed in his suit with a tie. He is probably trying to make a good inpression. However, he is about six inches too short to sign up for the "Army." Even standing on his tiptoes.
Norman Rockwell's Boy Measuring Height (1917)
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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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