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Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell (February 3, 1894 - 1978) was an American painter. He is generally considered both a patriotic and primarily a commercial painter. His work has enjoyed and continues to enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States, as well as some critical disdain. Rockwell is famous for a series of covers for The Saturday Evening Post, notably those painted during the 1940s and 50s, especially the Four Freedoms series (Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship and Freedom from Fear, from a speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt) painted in 1943 and later used to promote war bonds and Rosie the Riveter, also 1943.

Many of his works appear to the modern artistic eye as overly sweet, especially the Saturday Evening Post covers, and tend toward idealistic portrayals of American life. Consequently, Rockwell is not often regarded as a "serious painter" by many contemporary artists, who often regard his work as bourgeois and kitsch. He is called an illustrator instead of an artist by many critics. Rockwell sometimes produced images that are powerful and moving on nearly anyone's view, however. One example is The Problem We All Live With, which dealt with the issue of school integration. The painting depicts a young African-American girl walking to school, flanked by white federal marshals, walking past a wall defaced by racist graffiti. It is probably not an image that could have appeared on a magazine cover earlier in Rockwell's career, but ranks among his best-known works today.

Born in New York City and educated at the Academy of Design and the Art Student's League, Rockwell then worked for the Boy Scouts of America publication Boy's Life before submitting his first successful cover painting to the Post in 1916 ("Boy with Baby Carriage" which ran on May 20). He left the Post in 1963, having painted 321 covers in total.



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