Norman Rockwell Biography
Norman Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894. He always wanted to be an artist so when he was 14 years old, he started classes at the New York School of Art. He left school when he was 16 to study art at the National Academy of Design and then at the Art Students League. Norman Rockwell had painted four Christmas cards before he turned 16 and while he was only a teenager he became the art director of Boys’ Life – the Boy Scouts of America’s publication.
At 21, Norman Rockwell moved to New Rochelle, New York and set up a studio with the cartoonist Clyde Forsythe and did artwork for several magazines. When he was 22, Norman painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, a magazine Norman said was, “the greatest show window in America.” During the next 47 years, Norman Rockwell painted 321 covers for The Post.
Norman Rockwell painted a lot of pictures of his interpretations of President Franklin Roosevelt’s address to Congress about freedom. His work was extremely successful but Norman was hit hard when his studio was destroyed by fire. Norman Rockwell lost many paintings and his collection of historical costumes and props. Almost a decade later, Norman moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts and published his autobiography. In 1977, Norman Rockwell was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian honor) for his “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country.” He died at his home on November 8, 1978 when he was 84.
Why Norman Rockwell?
Norman Rockwell charmed millions of Americans with his humorous, optimistic, and highly-detailed depictions of everyday life, and valued ideals like freedom of speech, civil rights, and acceptance.
Whether you’ve seen his covers for the Saturday Evening Post, his “Four Freedoms” World War II paintings, or been to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, one thing is certain: Rockwell is one of the most iconic American painters of the 20th century.