The Novice Skater by Norman Rockwell
February 7, 1920 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
The Novice Skater, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published February 7, 1920.
This painting was Rockwell's twenty-seventh overall picture out of 322 total featured on the cover of The Post. Rockwell's career with the Post spanned 47 years, from his first cover illustration, Boy With Baby Carriage in 1916 to his last, Portrait of John F. Kennedy, in 1963.
It is also the second Rockwell cover in 1920. The Post featured a Rockwell illustration on its cover eleven times in 1920.
The location of the original painting is not known.
This illustration has been reproduced in two Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 129 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 82 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
This is a tough cover to find in excellent condition. Its price tag is reflective of its scarcity.
The Novice Skater
With this painting, Norman Rockwell shows us a typical winter scene.
Rockwell usually painted scenes that were familiar to his audience. A favorite winter pastime of the era was ice skating, especially outside.
Both characters are dressed warmly, so we can safely assume that this is an outdoor winter scene.
The lady, who is the novice skater from the title, is wearing a fur hat, scarf, sweater and long skirt. She dropped her fur muff on the ice when she fell. These are just these clothes visible. She is probably warmly dressed underneath as well.
She also wears new boot skates. Most of the characters in Rockwell's previous ice skating paintings have been wearing less expensive strap-on skates. This suggest that this young lady is serious about learning to ice skate.
She doesn't seem hurt or embarrassed by her fall to the ice. Actually she is smiling. She probably realizes that falling is as big a part of learning to ice skate as anything else.
The Novice Skater 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.
Learning how to fall is very important!
The gentleman trying to help her up is dressed warmly as well. Cap, scarf, jacket, pants and knee socks make up the visible part of his skating attire. No doubt he also wears long johns underneath.
His face suggests that he is straining to lift the load that is the young woman. Certainly there is a proper technique to picking up a fallen skater as well. He doesn't want to end up with his bottom on the ice like a novice.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1920 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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