The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


December 9, 2013

Other Views: Rockwell getting his due

— In his prime years as an artist, the oh-so-refined fine arts community derided Norman Rockwell as a corny chronicler of middlebrow American life. His realistic paintings, meticulously drawn from life, were in almost prissy contrast to the ferocious abstractionism of the time.

Worse, his paintings told stories that could be termed “heartwarming,” and his preferred outlets were the glossy — and well paying — mass circulation magazines of those pre-TV days, particularly the Saturday Evening Post for which he did 322 covers.

He did not fit the popular stereotype of the struggling, tormented artist.

Indeed, he lived a comfortable life in New England frequently using his fellow townspeople as models.

On Wednesday, three of his better known paintings came up for auction. “Saying Grace,” a 1951 oil of an elderly woman and presumably her grandson saying grace before lunch in a blue-collar diner, sold for $46 million, a record price for an American auction.

Two other paintings, “The Gossips,” a 1948 Post cover, and “Walking to Church,” a 1953 cover, sold for $8.45 million and $3.2 million respectively.

During World War II, his series of paintings, “The Four Freedoms” — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear, in ordinary American settings — raised more than $130 million for the war effort in print sales and a touring exhibition.

Rockwell consciously avoided controversial or unpleasant subjects although one notable exception is “The Problem We All Live With,” a brave little six-year-old black girl, in her best dress, being escorted to an all-white school in 1950 by four towering federal marshals.

The painting was hung in the Clinton White House and Ruby Bridges was there to see it installed.

It was too bad that Rockwell, who died in 1978, couldn’t have been there to paint the scene.

—Scripps Howard News Service.

Text Only
Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

What’s your favorite tree?

A. Maple
B. Oak
C. Dogwood
D. Redbud
     View Results
NDN Video
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents