Born: 3 February 1894
Died: 8 November 1978 (emphysema)
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Best known as: Cover artist for The Saturday Evening Post
American artist Norman Rockwell is known for his witty and heartwarming covers for The Saturday Evening Post. He did 322 covers for the popular magazine from 1916 through 1963: paintings of barefoot kids, small-town doctors, helpful cops, and other scenes of Americana. His early covers made Rockwell a star, and his paintings appeared in magazines, advertisements and greeting cards for the next half-century. Rockwell was a superb technician who liked to tell optimistic stories in his paintings; critics called his work sentimental or corny, but Rockwell said simply, "I paint life as I would like it to be." His fame reached a peak in World War II, when his "Four Freedoms" paintings became so iconic that they were sent around the country to sell war bonds. Rockwell moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1953 and lived there the rest of his life, using townsfolk as models for his paintings. His last Saturday Evening Post cover appeared in 1963, and for the next decade he worked extensively for Look magazine, covering more serious topics like civil rights and NASA moon landings. His autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, was published in 1960.
Rockwell was married three times: To Irene O’Connor (from 1916 until their divorce in 1928); Mary Rhodes (from 1930 until her death in 1959); and Mary Punderson (from 1961 until his death in 1978)… He had three sons with his second wife, Mary: Jarvis, Thomas, and Peter… The “four freedoms” of Rockwell’s paintings were freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. They were based on the words of President Franklin Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union address… Rockwell’s last cover for the Saturday Evening Post was a memorial portrait of John F. Kennedy after his assassination; it appeared on 14 December 1963… Rockwell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.
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