1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 162: Rockwell, by Karal Ann Marling

This is another book from the Taschen collection, this one highlighting the work or Norman Rockwell.  Rockwell, though easily one of the most recognized name in 20th century art, found himself on the outside of the ‘art’ world, looking in.  His art was seen by more people in America than any other artist of his, or any other generation.  Every week there was a new, Norman Rockwell painting on display via the cover of The Saturday Evening Post,  from the age of 22, up until his departure from the Post in 1963.  Coupled with that his work was featured on cards and calendars and  advertisements.  But never in an art gallery.  His work was the product of a work for hire, or so it seemed in the eyes of the art world, and he held on to a more traditional approach to art, rather than the modernist and post-modernist ideals.  Seen as low-brow or base, Rockwell’s paintings spoke to the common man.  One did not need a degree in the arts to gain entry into Rockwell’s work, his work was the product of a story teller, and he was a master at what he did.  Though many see most of Rockwell’s work as an idealization or America, he also painted pictures that were not so ideal, paintings that suggested that not everybody was living the same American dream.  Later in his career, when he wanted to take on social issues, The Saturday Evening Post refused to embrace the direction Rockwell wanted to take with his work, so he left the magazine and signed on with Look, where he was allowed to tackle social issues and did so in paintings such as “The Problem We All Live With”, “Negro In The Suburbs”, “Blood Brothers” and “Southern Justice”.  There is a clear narrative in each of Rockwell’s pieces that is easily accessible, and while not embraced by the art world, history will no doubt eventually place Rockwell’s name in its rightful place on the art pantheon.  This collection is by no means comprehensive, indeed, it would be difficult to put all of Rockwell’s work in one book, but this collection includes many of Rockwell’s most famous paintings and is reasonably priced.

Rambler About Rambler

Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.

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