"Study for 'Extra Good Boys and Girls' "   Lot no. 3051

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By Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

1939 (Estimated)
16.00" x 13.00"
Oil and Pencil on Paperboard


Study for December 16, 1939 cover of The Saturday Evening Post

Study for 'Extra Good Boys and Girls' manifests why "Norman Rockwell is generally credited with the invention of the modern American Christmas and the tender sentiments attached to it." (M.H. Hennessey, A. Knutson, Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People, exhibition catalogue, Atlanta, Georgia, 1999, p. 155) The largely secular vision of Christmas in 1930s America was almost entirely a result of mass media, and the character of Santa Claus satisfied a nation that was becoming increasingly focused on consumerism. Rockwell produced numerous holiday covers featuring Santa to satisfy the public's demand and, in so doing, helped to construct the modern American concept of Christmas. Indeed, "In many American homes Christmas and Thanksgiving weren't quite official until the Post arrived with a Norman Rockwell holiday cover." (S. Marker, Norman Rockwell, North Dighton, Massachusetts, 2004, p. 12) 


L.N. Moffatt, Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, vol. 1, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1986, p. 143, no. C380) and is included as an addendum work in the Project Norman database created by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 

Explore related art collections: Saturday Evening Post Covers / Christmas/ Holiday

See all original artwork by Norman Rockwell



The pictures of Norman Perceval Rockwell (1894-1978) were recognized and enjoyed 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.

            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 Bridgeman at the Art Students League in New York. His two greatest influences were the completely opposite titans Howard Pyle and J.C Leyendecker.

            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.

            An important museum has been established in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he maintained his studio. Each year, tens of thousands visit the largest collection of his original paintings extant.