Clown and Boy by Norman Rockwell
May 18, 1918 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Clown and Boy, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published May 18, 1918.
One alternate title for this illustration is Off-Duty Clown. Another title is Meet the Clown.
This painting was Rockwell's twelfth overall picture featured on the cover of The Post and the second Rockwell cover in 1918. The Post featured a Rockwell illustration on its cover four times in 1918.
The original oil on canvas painting, 27 x 24 inches or 68.5 x 61 cm, is part of a private collection.
This painting has reproduced in three Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 114 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner, on page 155 of Norman Rockwell: Illustrator by Arthur L. Guptill and on page 77 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
Original copies of this magazine cover in pristine condition have sold for well over one hundred dollars on eBay. And it only cost a nickel when it was new.
Clown and Boy
With this painting, Norman Rockwell treats to a glimpse into the life of a clown.
Of the three characters in the painting, only one seems aware of the others. That character is the boy.
He has just seen the circus show. That show probably featured these other two characters, the clown and his clown dog. He is anxious to make small talk with such celebrity characters. He will brag to friends tomorrow about his exploits.
The boy still carries his 5 cent bag of peanuts and his helium-filled balloon on a stick. He already has a physical souvenir, but he wants a little mental souvenir.
The clown is off duty. All he wants to do between shows is to relax, cool his giant feet and read the sports page. He has at least one more show to do or he would have already removed his costume. So he ignores the boy.
Clown and Boy 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 clown dog is really ignoring the scenario. He is asleep, though still in costume. No doubt he is saving his energy for jumping through flaming hoops and such.
The boy will just have to concoct a good story for his friends, because these two are just not interested.
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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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