When I was a kid, we had two huge built-in bookcases in our house. The shelves were filled with encyclopedias, books about amphibians and apes, and of course, tons of children's books. I remember spending rainy Saturday afternoons plopped down on the floor admiring the pages of books filled with information I had yet to fully comprehend. One book I constantly looked through (besides the 'D' encyclopedia -- D for dogs -- I loved to look at the pics), was a book about Norman Rockwell and his artwork.
Rockwell was one of the first artists I learned of as a kid. My grandpa was an oil painter, so I've always assumed my "artsy" genes came from him and fueled my fascination with a book about art at a young age.
Rockwell, to me, is the one of the best artists ever (although snobby art-lovers might turn their nose up at that notion). He painted what he saw...many times things that were invisible to the naked eye, and many times seeing right through to the heart of the matter. He painted about controversy -- war and civil rights, but also painted what people knew and understood -- love, humor and everyday America.
The painting shown above is my absolute favorite of his. I have a print of it hanging in our guest bedroom. I remember reading somewhere that the painting (from 1961) was a depiction of how Rockwell saw the world and how he wished the world would be. To me, it represents world peace and that's absolutely beautiful, especially considering the time in which it was painted (during Vietnam).
I was ecstatic today when I heard on the news that some of Norman Rockwell's collection is coming to the Detroit Institute of Arts starting on Sunday. I'm excited to have the opportunity to see some of his work in person, right in my own backyard.
"American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell," will be at the DIA March 8–May 31, 2009. The exhibit includes 44 paintings and 323 original Saturday Evening Post covers.
I began with a quote, and now I leave you with a quote:
"The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back." - Norman Rockwell