"Bedtime"   Lot no. 3287

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By Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

1923 (Estimated)
21" x 19"
Oil on Canvas
Signed Lower Right

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The boy pictured on the lap of the women in the painting called “Bedtime” by Norman Rockwell is the son of John A. Chew. The boy was 5 years old in 1923 when “Bedtime” was painted. Mr. Chew and Mr. Rockwell were neighbors in New Rochelle, NY in the 1920’s and had become lifelong friends. Norman Rockwell would sketch and illustrate advertisements for Mr. Chew’s company. Rockwell had asked to use Mr. Chew and other family members in several paintings over the years; many which were Saturday Evening Post covers.This painting is the cover for Literary Digest issue, Vol. 76, No. 13, March 31, 1923. After the painting was complete, he gave it to Mr. Chew as a gift. The painting remained in his hands until the late 1950’s when it was passed onto a son and then in 1997 was passed onto a grandson. The painting has been owned by the Chew family since 1923.

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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.