Merrie Christmas by Norman Rockwell
December 3, 1921 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Merrie Christmas, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published December 3, 1921.
The alternate title for this painting is Jolly Man in Top Hat.
This painting was Rockwell's forty-third 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 was also the seventh Rockwell cover in 1921. The Saturday Evening Post featured a Rockwell illustration on its cover seven times in 1921.
The location of the original painting is not known. A pencil and watercolor on paper study for the painting is part of the collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
This illustration has been reproduced in three Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 95 of Norman Rockwell's America by Christopher Finch, as illustration 138 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 87 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
This cover, in addition to being one of the early Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers, is also a holiday illustration. It is hard to find in excellent condition. I have seen copies of this cover in less than excellent condition sell for more than one hundred dollars at auction.
Here is another famous Norman Rockwell Christmas illustration.
You might ask "What does this painting have to do with Christmas?" And that is a very reasonable question.
Of course, the caption assures us that this is a Christmas picture.
Besides the man's rosy cheeks and the warm looking clothes he is wearing, there are only a few other clues. It is obviously winter. The man is wearing mittens, a top hat, heavy wool coat and a thick scarf. But winter doesn't necessarily mean Christmas.
Merrie Christmas 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.
Look carefully on his lapel. There is a sprig of holly, a leaf and three berries, pinned to his lapel. A clue!
The only other clue is the jolly look on the man's face. Rockwell captured the gleam in his eyes and the joyful smile on his face. His jolly mood was captured for all eternity by Rockwell's brush and canvas.
Now that says Christmas.
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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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