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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Book Friday: Norman Rockwell's America

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Recently, the work of Norman Rockwell has been at the top of my mind. I enjoy scanning his detailed illustrations for clues of what mid-century life was like. The photograph-like precision with which he painted always draws me in. This week I pulled  Norman Rockwell's America (Abrams, 1975) from my shelf. Here are a few of Rockwell's paintings that I'm inspired by right now.

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A photograph of Rockwell in his studio in 1970.

1 A photograph of Rockwell in his studio in 1970.

2 "The Window Washer," which was featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on September 17, 1960, looks like a scene straight out of Mad Men.

Entitled

3 Entitled "The Connoisseur" this oil painting was originally created for a Saturday Evening Post cover, printed January 13, 1962.

Self-portraits by famous artists are always so interesting, and Rockwell's

4 Self-portraits by famous artists are always so interesting, and Rockwell's "Triple Self-Portait" is no exception.

Rockwell's

5 Rockwell's "A Family Tree" gives an abbreviated history lesson.

Oh, young love. I particularly enjoy the details of Rockwell's 1955 illustration

6 Oh, young love. I particularly enjoy the details of Rockwell's 1955 illustration "Marriage License," such as the peeling paint and cigarette butts scattered on the floor.

What I love about

7 What I love about "Waiting for the Vet" is how all of the dogs and owners resemble each other.

I love to invent narratives to go along with Rockwell's paintings. What is the little girl on the left thinking?

8 I love to invent narratives to go along with Rockwell's paintings. What is the little girl on the left thinking?

9 "The Girl in the Mirror" is such a sweet depiction of growing up.

One of the Four Freedoms,

10 One of the Four Freedoms, "Freedom from Want" is such a beautiful glimpse into an American household.

Rockwell captures behind the scenes moments of the sports world. Here a jockey weighs in.

11 Rockwell captures behind the scenes moments of the sports world. Here a jockey weighs in.

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Comments (5)

  • Hi Kevin,
    Amzing illustrations, I will forward this post to my daughter who is studying Graphic communication design in London, I am sure she will love his work.
    I will be reading your posts from London. Happy Friday and a wonderful weekend.

  • I had the pleasure recently of going to a American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell at the Dayton Ohio Art Institue. It was a fantastic exhibit with a short film describing who he was and how he painted. Amazing story.

  • Hi Kevin, Thanks for this great blog about Norman Rockwell! I love seeing any photos of what he did for us to enjoy! Loved reading the Saturday Evening post back in the 50s when I lived in Ellensburg, Washington and was in high school and Central Washington College of Education! Takes me back to an interesting time in my life! Have a great weekend! Jan

  • Nice post!! you can find more home design tips here

  • Super post, Kevin! Rockwell is so charming. My favorite is "Waiting for the Vet"!

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