Children Dancing at a Party by Norman Rockwell
January 26, 1918 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Children Dancing at a Party, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published January 26, 1918.
For obvious reasons, this illustration has also been called Boy Stepping on Girl's Toe. Another alternate title for this painting is Pardon Me.
This painting was Rockwell's eleventh picture out of 322 featured on the cover of The Post. The Post featured Rockwell on the cover four times in 1918.
The original oil on canvas painting, 23 x 19 inches or 58.5 x 48 cm, is part of the collection of The National Museum of American Illustration.
This painting has been reproduced in three Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 60 of Norman Rockwell's America by Christopher Finch, as illustration 108 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 pristine copies of the original published cover sell for big bucks on eBay. And it only cost a nickel when it was newly purchased.
Children Dancing at a Party
When this was published, World War I was in full swing. Americans needed a distraction from the grim realities of war. Rockwell was just the one to provide that distraction.
Americans needed a distraction from the grim realities of war. Rockwell was just the one to provide that distraction.
In this painting, Norman Rockwell returned to what he knew best. Children in humorous situations, such as presented here, had long been a staple of popular magazines.
The humorous situation in this painting is one to which most of us can relate. Even when the social situation called for pretending like nothing happened, most of us have been either the toe stepper or steppee. (Isn't it fun - making up words?)
And who hasn't stepped on a toe or two dancing while dancing? I have lost count of the toes I have stepped on, both on and off the dance floor.
Here we see two young couples at a party dancing. All the children are dressed in their nice clothes. All are wearing party hats, except one.
Children Dancing at a Party 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.
The girl whose toe has been stepped on has lost her hat on the floor. It must have toppled when she jumped and grabbed her foot. She seems to be asking her dance partner "Why did you do that?"
Her dance partner looks embarassed at all the commotion. He seems to be saying "It was just an accident," and his body language seems to confirm this. Not to mention his red cheeks.
The couple behind them are both grinning. Perhaps they are amused, or perhaps they are relieved. Either way, it happened to someone else, instead of them.
Norman Rockwell's Children Dancing at a Party (1918)
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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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