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Rockwell, Norman

Rockwell, Norman, 1894–1978, American illustrator, b. New York City. One of America's favorite artists, Rockwell specialized in warm and humorous scenes of small-town American life, and from the late 1930s he used ordinary people as his models. Best known for his magazine covers, especially those for the Saturday Evening Post (323 in all from 1916 to 1963), he developed a style of finely drawn realism with a wealth of anecdotal detail. During World War II, his posters on the Four Freedoms were widely circulated. In the 1960s his illustrations tended to have more liberal themes, as in The Problem We Live With ( Look magazine, 1964), which shows an African-American schoolgirl being escorted by officers past a wall scrawled with an ugly racial epithet. Scorned during his life by some art critics as a mere illustrator, he has been posthumously recognized as a significant American artist. Rockwell lived the last 25 years of his life in Stockbridge, Mass., where a museum devoted to his work opened in 1993.

See his autobiography (1960) biographical works by T. S. Buechner (1970), L. Claridge (2001), and D. Solomon (2013) study by R. Halpern (2006).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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