"Character Study"   Lot no. 4594

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By Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

16.25" x 18.25"
Oil on Canvas
Signed Lower Right



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Signed 'NORMAN/ROCKWELL' bottom right; also dedicated 'My very best wishes/to/Sir Jay Chernis/Cordially/Norman Rockwell/November 3rd/1975' verso

The present work belonged to Sir Jay Chernis (1906-1996), an American composer known for submitted an anthem to the Queen of England, which precipitated his knighthood and made him Composer Laureate. Chernis met Rockwell in Stockbridge in the fall of 1975, and had his painting dedicated by the master then, as proven by the heartfelt inscription of the reverse of the present work.

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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.