Sailor Dreaming of Girlfriend by Norman Rockwell
January 18, 1919 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Sailor Dreaming of Girlfriend, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published January 18, 1919.
This painting was Rockwell's fifteenth overall picture featured on the cover of The Post and the first Rockwell cover in 1919. The Post featured a Rockwell illustration on its cover eleven times in 1919.
The location of the original oil on canvas painting is not known.
This painting has reproduced in three Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 243 of Norman Rockwell's America by Christopher Finch, as illustration 111 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 78 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.
Sailor Dreaming of Girlfriend
In this classic painting, Rockwell gives us a glimpse into sailor life during the First World War.
Rockwell was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina during his stint with the Naval Reserves during World War I. Due to his physique, he never saw active duty, but was instead a morale booster. He drew cartoons and did layouts for the camp newspaper, Ashore and Afloat.
During this period, he also drew and painted portraits of his comrades and commanders. This painting is obviously one such portrait.
In this illustration, he shows two of his comrades, fellow sailors away from home, but not actually in the thick of the War.
The big fellow on the right is smoking his pipe and looking downward to his friend. The big fellow has lots of tattoos. His left hand has the Navy anchor with the initials USN, for United States Navy, underneath. The number 1908, presumably when he enlisted, is tattooed on his left wrist.
His right wrist, however, keeps with the theme of this painting. Tattooed on his right wrist is MARY, the name of his sweetheart. On the back of right hand is a heart and the initials MB.
Other tattoos are on his chest.
The smaller sailor is the main focus of the painting. He is the sailor daydreaming of his girlfriend. In one hand he holds a photo of the object of his affections. On the photo is inscribed "Love to my Sailorboy from _____ XXXXX" Sorry, I cannot make out the name on the inscription.
Sailor Dreaming of Girlfriend 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.
We can also see an envelope underneath the photograph. He has just received this wonderful communication from his girl. His eyes are drifting off in a daydream.
We can also see a fountain pen tucked into the middle of his uniform. He is probably mentally composing sweet nothings to write back to his girlfriend.
Affection returned is a very sweet thing.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1919 Saturday Evening Post & Curtis Publishing Company
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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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