Boy Reading Pirate Stories by Norman Rockwell
January 29, 1921 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Boy Reading Pirate Stories, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published January 29, 1921.
Alternate titles for this painting include Mom's Helper and On the High Seas.
This painting was Rockwell's thirty-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 first Rockwell cover published in 1921. The Post featured a Rockwell illustration on its cover seven times in 1921.
The location of the original painting is not known.
This illustration has been reproduced in two Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 139 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 85 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
Early Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers like this are extremely hard to find in pristine condition. Scarcity and demand combine to drive the prices up. I have seen this cover sell for more than one hundred dollars.
Boy Reading Pirate Stories
In this painting, Norman Rockwell shows us excitement before television. Kids and adults read books for entertainment.
This boy is helping his mother in the kitchen.
He is peeling a bowl of potatoes. He is using a sharp knife. He has a bandage on his right thumb.
Rockwell loved painting bandages on big toes. We cannot see the boy's big toe. It is possible tha Rockwell painted the bandage on the thumb as an inside joke.
Or he have cut himself actually peeling potatoes.
He might very well have cut himself with that knife. He is very absorbed in his book, The Pirate.
Boy Reading Pirate Stories 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 assume from its cover that this book is about rough adventure. Just what a boy wants to read. He is not looking at the potatoes he is peeling.
Is his mother aware that he is not being careful with her potatoes? Is she watching and being amused somewhere off the canvas? She probably already knew to give him plenty of time for kitchen preparation work.
Mothers always know.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1921 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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