The work of “America’s Favorite Illustrator” is drawing crowds to the Friedman Art Gallery.
Norman Rockwell devoted nearly four decades of his life to capturing the blossoming life of the twentieth century through everyday moments and comical scenarios featured on 321 Saturday Evening Post covers.
Thomas C. Daly, the curator of the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. provided the opening lecture.
Daly is a nationally renowned expert on the life and works of Rockwell, and he was able to provide details about all of the pieces on display, including the names of the models and the locations that inspired the setting of each cover illustration.
This iconic nature of the work made Rockwell’s art and this exhibit relevant to attendees for many reasons. Rockwell had an unmistakable talent of portraying common scenes from life – whether it was a scene of a shocked young boy discovering his father’s Santa Clause costume in the bottom drawer of a bureau or a young girl studying the features of her face in an antique mirror, wondering what she would look like as an adult and what the world would hold for her – according to Daly’s lecture.
Daly covered Rockwell’s personal life and motivations for his art in a way that allowed for attendees to learn more about the man behind the artistry. H spoke about Rockwell’s romantic interests, family life, and service in the Navy Reserve during the first and second World Wars.
“I felt I was ill-prepared for this wonderful lecture. I should have studied before. It was very impressive, and I was so impressed by the audience also,” said Dr. Midori Yamanouchi, leader of the lecture series of the same name. “Some people already had the answers [to Daly’s questions] and I kept thinking, ‘How can I be so ignorant?’ But I love that because I have to remind myself that I have to keep learning something. It was so enlightening.”
First year English major Leah Santucci sais she found it a learning experience.
“I thought it was very informative. I like how the speaker incorporated a lot of Rockwell’s background into it. I’ve never gone to something like that, so it was very unique for me,” said Santucci. “I really like how the speaker pointed out the different contributors to the Saturday post, like sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I thought that it was interesting that all of the famous artists were all tied together in some way.”
First year occupational therapy major Elena Uribe connected the paintings to a treasured experience in her life – something that probably would have pleased the artist.
“I thought it was extremely interesting because I have seen the Norman Rockwell paintings my entire life in a certain restaurant that we always go to, and I’ve always loved them. The ways he drew, his style – loved it – and I never really knew much about him so I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture,” said Uribe.
The Norman Rockwell Exhibit is on display in the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery until Feb. 28.