We at the Norman Rockwell Museum were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jerry Pinkney (1939-2021), a true master of American illustration and one of the kindest and most genuine individuals that we have every had the pleasure of working with. We have been fortunate to collaborate with this gifted artist on several important projects over the course of two decades and to share Jerry’s work in two major national traveling exhibitions, Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney and Jerry Pinkney, Imaginings: An Artist’s Explorations of Images and Words. A great friend to the Museum and always generous with his time and talents, Jerry worked closely with us to spark creativity in enthusiastic students at regional schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and we were proud to launch a curriculum project created in conjunction with these projects. In 2016, Jerry became the Museum’s Artist Laureate, advocating for our work and highlighting the power of illustration and storytelling to educate and inspire.
WEEKENDS FOR ENCHANTED: A HISTORY OF FANTASY ILLUSTRATION
Friday and Saturday, October 22 and 23, 2021
Explore the art and history of fantasy illustration and the mythical, mystical, folkloric artworks by masterful artists who are leading the way in this popular genre. Often inspired by the fantastical in literature, fantasy art has been prominent through the centuries in medieval, mannerist, magic realist, romantic, and surrealist imagery. The field’s historical underpinnings and inspirations will be the subject of conversation by exhibition curator Jesse Kowalski as well as prominent practitioners whose art is featured in Enchanted: A History of Fantasy Illustration.
This event is organized by the Appraisers Association.
September 20, 2021 1-2 p.m. EST
America’s most prominent twentieth-century illustrator, Norman Rockwell was revered by his public and reviled by many in the art world, but his paintings were made to last. Replaced at the turn of a page by a succession of magazine issues and illustrations, his visual narratives called the history of European art into play, employing classical painting methodology to weave contemporary tales inspired by everyday people and places. A cast of affable, exquisitely painted characters and a plethora of supporting details kept him and his audience engaged, and inspired belief by millions in the uniquely American vision that he conceived and continued to refine.
During an era when women were expected to get married, raise children, and manage a household, Elizabeth Shippen Green (1871-1954), Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863-1935), and Violet Oakley (1874-1961) chose to pursue careers in the arts. In 1897, these three women enrolled in famed illustrator Howard Pyle’s (1853-1911) class at the School of Illustration at the Drexel Institute, Philadelphia where they formed a bond. The women rook residence at the Red Rose Inn; hence their moniker.
Magazines are increasingly emerging as critical sites in developing a new understanding of the dynamic relationship between “fine” art and mass culture. Throughout the 20th century, a wide range of American periodicals commissioned artists to produce work for covers and feature stories, but many of these commissions have been left out of histories of modernism. This session considers three case studies to convey the rich trajectory of art and magazines: Edward Hopper’s covers for the Wells Fargo Messenger, Mine Okubo’s drawings in Fortune magazine, and Saul Steinberg’s work for such publications as Life, Look, Sports Illustrated, and Time. The papers explore the origins of and motivations behind such commissions and analyzes the art as it was originally published in print, showing how advertisements, adjacent articles, and captions shaped the initial reception and understanding of the works.
Back in the 1800’s, the image of Santa Claus was not portrayed as the round, jolly, bearded man that we know today. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, Santa morphed through a variety of different looks. He was initially depicted as a thin elf-like man dressed in green, who was focused on protecting children and sailors. At other times, he appeared skinny and gaunt, with a scraggly beard and, while he may have worn a red coat, he sometimes wore a different colored hat, trimmed in black.
Friday and Saturday, January 15 and 16, 2021
For designers, cartoonists, and illustrators, many questions arise when creating art that takes up socially significant, sometimes controversial themes. Some choose the D.I.Y. route, working independently with a free hand, without access to the large scale distribution that comes with a recognizable masthead. Others work with leading news organizations and magazines, agreeing to collaborate in exchange for access to audiences. Popular art has always involved such choices. What are the tradeoffs? What are the rewards?
This timely symposium will explore historical and contemporary notions of freedom as well as the role of illustration as a force in shaping public perception. How has published imagery affected decision-making, public policy, and cultural understanding? Prominent authors, illustrators, and scholars will offer perspectives. Share your observations by participating in all or some of these compelling conversations.
This program is supported in part by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.
Food, an essential for man’s survival, is a common theme in art throughout the ages. Today, some epicureans consider food as an art form with its unique power to engage all the senses, not only vision. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this blog looks at some of the mouthwatering imagery found in the Norman Rockwell Museum Collection.
I first met Tim Evatt three years ago. Tim greeted me in the cavernous lobby of the main building at Pixar, which is named after Apple Computer’s founder, the late Steve Jobs. We walked through the public hallways of the studio looking at the work of all the artists on staff who had contributed to the film Coco, which was in theaters at the time. We looked at storyboard art, pencil and color studies, set designs, and 3D maquettes. I was like a kid in the candy store. However, equally impressive was learning how much Tim Evatt was and is a true student of “golden age” illustrators like Norman Rockwell, J.C. Leyendecker, and Dean Cornwell. This past week, I decided to capture one of my conversations with Tim in anticipation of a virtual program that the Museum is planning to hold on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 7pm.
Despite the growing efficiency of cameras in the nineteenth century, photography on the battlefield was difficult due to long exposures and cumbersome equipment. Because of this, Civil War illustrator reporters like Winslow Homer, Alfred Waud and Edwin Forbes were engaged to capture events that photography at the time could not. In the twentieth century, wartime illustrators remained in demand⸺as skillful practitioners they were able to prioritize in chaotic situations and assemble compelling visual evidence that communicated to viewers in a visceral way.