Santa With Elves by Norman Rockwell
December 2, 1922 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
This Norman Rockwell painting, Santa with Elves, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published December 2, 1922. This is a timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, no matter what age.
An alternate title is Santa's Helpers.
This was the fifty-third Rockwell painted cover published by the Post out of 322 total. 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 tenth of 1922. There were ten Rockwell Post covers published in 1922.
The original oil on canvas painting, 32 x 28 inches or 81 x 71 cm, was originally owned by Rockwell's eldest son, Jarvis. It has since changed hands. It is currently owned by George Lucas.
The original oil on canvas painting appeared in the Smithsonian exhibit, Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell fron the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg through January 2, 2010.
This painting was Rockwell's second picture of Santa Claus featured on the cover of The Post. Rockwell's first Post Christmas cover appeared on December 9, 1916.
This Santa Claus picture continued The Post's long tradition of presenting a Norman Rockwell Christmas painting on its cover.
In fact, when envisioning Santa Claus, most people see him the way Norman Rockwell painted him.
This illustration has been reproduced in four Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 330 of Norman Rockwell's America by Christopher Finch, as illustration 155 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner, on page 28 of Norman Rockwell: A Sixty Year Retrospective by Thomas Buechner and on page 92 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
And to think it only cost five cents brand new!
Santa With Elves
Ok, the secret is out. Now we know how Santa Claus gets it all done!
It's just like the saying "Behind every successful man, there is a woman." Behind a successful Santa Claus, there are a lot of hard-working elves!
I count seven hard-working elves. Yes, I know there are eight in the painting, but one is the boss elf. Well, I am sure he works hard, too.
Santa is so exhausted that he doesn't even notice the boss elf pulling on his ear.
Santa doesn't even hear the boss elf giving instructions to the other elves. Do you think that the boss elf is whispering?
Santa with Elves 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.
The other elves are finishing toys and loading up Santa's magic bag. The doll is finished and being loaded in the bag.
The little house, marked "RUSH" is not quite ready. Not only is the painting not finished, the paint will need a while to dry. Wait, of course, it is magic paint and dries instantly!
In that case, it is almost time to wake Santa and send him on his way to reward all the good boys and girls.
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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