The Runaway by Norman Rockwell
September 20, 1958 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
The Runaway, a piinting by Norman Rockwell appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published September 20, 1958. This is a timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors and baseball fans alike, a true classic for the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's fourth for The Post in 1958. In 1958, there were five Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
I have seen pristine original copy of this cover still attached to the magazine sell for close to one hundred dollars on eBay. And to think it only cost fifteen cents originally!
The original oil on canvas painting, 35.75 inches by 33.5 inches, is part of the collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum Stockbridge Massachusetts.
This classic Norman Rockwell painting depicts a policeman and alittle boy sharing the lunch counter at a diner.
The Runaway 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.
In this illustration, Norman Rockwell treats us to three characters and their surroundings, the local diner.
The diner is, I'm sure, a typical eatery from the 1950's. Some folks called these establishments "greasy spoons." This one is probably a cut abovemost since Rockwell painted it.
No details were overlooked by Rockwell: stools, counter-top, coffe pot, cup, sugar dispenser - even the radio mounted on its shelf on the wall. Television was very new when this was painted. Radio was how people stayed up on current events.
The only character whose entire face we can see is the man in white behind the counter. He looks amused at the situation unfolding before him..
Is the man in white also the cook? I hope not: he is smoking a cigarette. That would not be allowed today, but this was painted during the 1950's. Americans enjoyed a much greater degree of freedom in those simpler times.
The largest character is, of course, the policeman. He is the blue uniformed authority figure in this painting. In addition to clothing part of his uniform, Rockwell spares no detail on his accessories. We see his pistol, his handcuff pouch and his citation book. I am unsure what the pouch attached to the shoulder strap is.
The cop looks less amused than the man in white. He is affecting a professional demeanor toward the situation.
Sitting high off the floor on top if his green topped stool is the runaway himself. Is he engaged in a staring contest with the cop?
He has apparently just left home. His clothes are still neatly tied inside his red bandana and fastened to his stick. The jeans and t-shirt he is wearing still look neat and fairly clean. He is not wearing his jacket; it is laying in his lap.
Did the boy bring money to buylunch with? The man behind the counter has his hands clasped and seems to be waiting for an order. Spagetti and meatballs is the "SPECIAL TODAY." I'm sure the homemade pies in the display on the left are also delicious.
Will the policeman make the boy return home? Will he feed the boy first? And will the boy eat again just as soon as he walks in the door at home?
Has his mother even realized that the boy had run away?
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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?
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