""Plumbers" Post Cover, Pencil Study"   Lot no. 4059

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By Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

42.00" x 36.00"
Pencil Drawing
Signed & Inscribed Lower Right



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Study for Saturday Evening Post Cover, June 2, 1951

The Post described, “Some years ago a chief plumber and an associate plumber entered Norman Rocwell’s studio to plumb a pipe, and paused before a just-finished, very funny Post cover. As Rockwell awaited their guffaws, the critics silently studied the picture for two minutes, then, without a word, plodded gloomily down cellar. That may have left a scar on Rockwell’s self-confidence, for when he sent us this week’s cover he added some extra salesmanship, attaching to the frame of the picture a sachet bag fortified with a dose of perfume. As a result, nothing else has ever smelled as our art department smelled, and when the editors went home at night their wives took one whiff of them and proposed divorce. Nevertheless the picture was bought.” 


(The Saturday Evening Post,  June 2,1951, p. 3)


Explore related art collections: Black & White / Studies / Saturday Evening Post Covers

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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.