Santa's Christmas List by Norman Rockwell
December 6, 1924 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
This Norman Rockwell painting, Santa's Christmas List, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published December 6, 1924. This is another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, no matter what age.
An alternate title is Good Deeds.
The original oil on canvas painting, 32 x 28 inches, was originally owned by Rockwell's eldest son, Jarvis. It has since changed hands.
This Norman Rockwell Santa Claus painting was the 73rd overall out of 322 total published Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover. 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 eleventh of 1924.
This painting was also Rockwell's third picture of Santa Claus featured on the cover of The Post. Rockwell's first Post Christmas cover appeared on December 9, 1916.
This painting also appears in two Rockwell commentary books. It appears as illustration 201 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 98 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
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, Norman Rockwell's version is how most people picture the jolly elf.
And to think it only cost five cents originally. What a bargain!
Santa's Christmas List
Okay, we always knew there was a list. We always knew he was watching our every move.
Fortunately for all of us, he apparently likes good works more than he dislikes the bad things we all do. It's like we forget he is always watching. Probably we should all have this painting on our walls just as a reminder.
I have loved this painting since the first time I saw it. It shows what motivation and love can accomplish together.
The little boy in the foreground of this illustration has been splitting wood. He has been working on this task in the snow. His puppy is helping him by reminding him that snow is actually intended to play in.
The boy has probably been working as fast as he can go. You know he wants to play with his puppy in the snow. And yet he is still continuing to do his chores.
Or is splitting this wood even an assigned chore? Is he helping an elderly neighbor who is unable to split it? The publication date suggests that it may be time for some borderline naughty children to earn extra "nice" points from Santa.
No boy or girl wants to leave something as important as Christmas morning to chance!
In the background, Norman Rockwell shows us Santa Claus dutifully noting and marking a "nice" point on the right-hand or creditor side of his master list book. No judgement can be seen in his face. He is only marking and tallying points.
Santa's Christmas List 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.
If only he would reveal just how bad or good we can be. Santa probably wants to be as good as we are able (for goodnes sake). I doubt he will even give a clue where that magical naughty/nice threshold is.
The message of this painting is that someone is always watching, And he knows more than Big Brother where you stand. Don't be left out Christmas morning.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1924 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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