Norman Rockwell's Biography

Norman Rockwell was born in New York City, in 1894. Rockwell is probably most well known for his work that was showcased on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post for over 40 years. Recognized and loved throughout America, and worldwide, Rockwell┐s work expressed scenes of Americana in a uniquely humorous, skillful and insightful way.

In 1910, Rockwell left high school to begin his studies in art at the Academy of Design, followed by instruction at the Art Student┐s League, both in New York City. Success came quickly to this talented artist when he was commissioned to paint 4 Christmas cards when he was just 15 years old. Soon he was hired, while still in his teens, as art director of Boy┐s Life, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, and from there his illustrious career blossomed. In 1916, at the age of 22, Rockwell painted his first cover of the Saturday Evening Post. For the next 47 years, and 321 covers later, Rockwell considered this venue the ┐greatest show window in America.┐

Rockwell married in 1930 and moved his family to Arlington, Vermont, in 1939. It was then that his work took a different turn: he was influenced by small town America and this new inspiration profoundly reflected in his work.

In 1943, Rockwell was inspired by a speech made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and proceeded to paint the Four Freedom paintings; which were the artist┐s interpretations of the freedoms of speech, worship, want and fear. They were published in the Saturday Evening Post and became extremely popular images. In fact, the originals toured the United States, and in the end raised more than $130 million for the war effort.

In 1960┐s, Rockwell ended his 47 year affiliation with the Saturday Evening Post, and began to work for Look magazine. His work seemed to reflect more serious times; the civil rights movement, the war on poverty and space exploration.

In addition, Norman Rockwell was requested by many famous figures to paint their portraits. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson sat for him, as well as Egyptian President Nassar and Nehru of India.

Rockwell established a trust in 1973 to preserve the vast wealth of art he produced during his lifetime. Today, his creations form the core of the Norman Rockwell Museum art collection in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Norman Rockwell died in Stockbridge, in 1978, at the age of 84.