Postman Reading Mail by Norman Rockwell
February 18, 1922 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Postman Reading Mail, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published February 18, 1922.
An alternate title is simply Sorting Mail.
This painting was Rockwell's forty-fifth 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.
This was also the second Rockwell cover in 1922. The Post featured a Rockwell illustration on its cover ten times in 1922.
The location of the original painting is not known.
This illustration has been reproduced in two Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 147 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 88 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
Like all of the early Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations, this one is difficult to find in great condition. I have seen original copies of this cover sell for more than one hundred dollars in barely presentable condition. Better copies have sold for much more at auction.
Postman Reading Mail
Well, now we know what happens in the Post Office when time permits. Only kidding, postal employees!
Rockwell gives us a humorous look at this postman. He is so busy reading the back of the postcard that he doesn't even notice Rockwell painting his portrait. Rockwell was one of the masters at staging humorous situations from everyday life.
The addressee on the postcard is "Miss Daisy Dell." No doubt Rockwell was poking fun at a real life person.
The implication would be that her personal life would be very interesting to all her neighbors, especially the gossips.
The volume of mail in the small town post office depicted here must be really small.
Postman Reading Mail 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.
Rockwell shows a cubby with just 20 slots. Surely there were more than 20 people receiving mail in the town.
The postman used this system for filing the mail as it arrived and handed each patrons mail to him or her at the window.
On top of the shelf we see the distractions available to the postman after he had read all the mail. We see a duck decoy, a pipe, a book and what appears to be shotgun shells. All are different ways to combat boredom.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1922 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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