Friday, November 27, 2009

A little trivial pursuit - Norman Rockwell

Many of you have used the Norman Rockwell painting " Freedom from want" as the face of your Thanksgiving posts, and rightly so since this painting is a wonderfully classic depiction of the ideal American holiday.  However I'm in the mood to research so I thought I'd share a few facts about Mr. Rockwell that may or may not interest you.

Full name: Norman Percevel Rockwell

DOB: February 3rd 1894, in NYC [can I get a woop woop for a fellow New Yorker]

Parents: Jarvis Waring and Ann Mary Rockwell [this implies his parents were not wed. and possibly did not raise Norman together given the fact that he has his mother's last name.  Be encouraged single moms!]

Education: Chase Art School, National Academy of design, Art students league.

Little known facts: Rejected from the US Navy due to his weight.  He measured tall but was underweight.  Because of this fact, he gorged on sweets, reenlisted the next day and met the weight requirement but was given the duty of military artist.

Occupation(s): Illustrator, art editor, painter.

Personal life: Thrice married with three children from his second wife.  Wives in order: Irene O'Connor, Mary Barstow, Molly Punderson.

Children: Jarvis Waring Rockwell [implies he had a good relationship with his father], Thomas Rhodes Rockwell [a literary history of his own.], & Peter Barstow Rockwell.  Thomas is the author of children's books, most famously How to Eat Dried Worms  which was later made into a controversial TV movie;   Read about it here.

Works: He was commissioned to paint portraits of four American Presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson & Nixon.  During the course of his life he produced over 4,000 pieces that were either destroyed by fire or are in permanent collections.  Several of his works were dismissed by serious art critics as 'overly sweet.'  He received more serious attention when he tackled more serious subjects [like racism and integration] in his works.

Died: November 8, 1978 in Stockbridge Massachusetts.


  1. This was a great post, Dale! Almost everyone knows at least one piece of his work. I have a table top book of a bunch of it that Santa brought me one Christmas.

    I was raised about 80 minutes north of NYC in a town called Poughkeepsie. So I can give a 'woot'!

  2. He was an amazingly talented artist. I'm just sad I will never get to experience it :D

    Hope you have a lovely weekend!



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