The pictures of Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) are recognized and loved by almost everybody in America. The cover of The Saturday Evening Post was his showcase for over forty years, giving him an audience larger than that of any other artist in history. Over the years he depicted there a unique collection of Americana, a series of vignettes of remarkable warmth and humor. In addition, he painted a great number of pictures for story illustrations, advertising campaigns, posters, calendars, and books.
In 1957 the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington cited him as a Great Living American, saying that…“Through the magic of your talent, the folks next door – their gentle sorrows, their modest joys – have enriched our own lives and given us new insight into our countrymen.”
As his personal contribution during World War II, Rockwell painted the famous “Four Freedoms” posters, symbolizing for millions the war aims as described by President Franklin Roosevelt. One version of his “Freedom of Speech” painting is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Rockwell left high school to attend classes at the National Academy of Design and later studied under Thomas Fogarty and George Bridgman at the Art Students League in New York. His early illustrations were done for St. Nicholas magazine and other juvenile publications. He sold his first cover painting to the Post in 1916 and ended up doing over 300 more. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson sat for him for portraits, and he painted other world figures, including Nassar of Egypt and Nehru of India.