18 Fascinating Norman Rockwell Facts that Will Leave You Amazed

Little fact lovers, let me introduce you to Norman Perceval Rockwell😲!

He was an American illustrator and painter!

His amazing works have a broad appeal in America for their reflection of the nation’s culture!

So, let us take a look at some interesting facts regarding the life and works of this world-famous artist!

Interesting Norman Rockwell facts

Norman Rockwell was born in New York City

Norman Rockwell Was Born In New York City

Little fact explorers, did you know that Rockwell was born in New York City?

He was born on February 3, 1894!

His dad was Jarvis Waring Rockwell, and his mom was Anne Mary “Nancy” Rockwell!

His dad was a Presbyterian, and his mom was an Episcopalian!

Norman had a brother, Jarvis Waring Rockwell Jr., who was one and a half years older than him!

At the age of 14, Rockwell transferred to the Chase Art School 

Norman Rockwell transferred to the Chase Art School from his high school when he was just 14!

After that, he went on to the National Academy of Design 🏛️!!

Finally, he went to the Art Students League! There he was taught by George Bridgman, Thomas Fogarty, and even Frank Vincent DuMond!

Painter Howard: Meet Rockwell’s biggest inspiration

Rockwell’s Biggest Inspiration

Howard Pyle is often known as “the father of American magazine illustration.” 

Appropriately, Norman Rockwell, who later became a world-famous magazine cover artist, considered Howard, his personal “hero.”

Pyle illustrated and wrote several children’s books, many of which included swashbuckling pirates☠️!

These amazing works completely captivated Rockwell! Hence, later Rockwell saluted them by throwing a Pyle-esque pirate into his famous painting of 1959, Family Tree

Quite impressive, isn’t it?

Rockwell received his first commission as a teenager

Rockwell’s career got off to a quite meteoric start. 

At the age of 14, the native of Manhattan started taking classes through the New York School of Art.

Within the next year, Rockwell joined the Art Students League, a prestigious organization. 

Later, Rockwell hadn’t turned 16 when he got his first paid commission! 

It was a set of four Christmas cards 🎄requested by a neighbor.

In 1912, Rockwell got his first major assignment

Rockwell's First Major Assignment

In 1912, Rockwell started tackling his first major assignment.

At just 18, he was hired to paint👨‍🎨 a dozen illustrations for Tell Me Why; Stories about Mother Nature by Charles H. Caudy, a Children’s book.

This gig of $150 helped set up a steady job!

It was the job of a staff artist and eventual art director for the well-known Boy’s Life magazine, where he’d started working prior to the year being out!

Rockwell created around 323 covers for The Saturday Evening Post

Little friends, have you heard this amazing fact about Rockwell? No? Let me tell you.

Perhaps no association between a magazine and an artist has ever made more widely celebrated than Rockwell’s work! 

The work was for The Saturday Evening Post!

This amazing work of Rockwell first graced the cover of the publication on May 20, 1916!

Until the year 1963, he’d continue to supply the Post with memorable paintings🖼️!

The U.S Navy turned Rockwell away

The U.S Navy Turned Rockwell Away

Once the U.S. Navy entered the First World War, Rockwell tried to join the Navy.

Initially, the U.S. Navy 🚢rejected him because of being 17 pounds underweight!!

Becoming quite disappointed but resolute, Rockwell tried to gain weight by eating donuts and bananas🍌! 

Eventually, he gained enough weight to meet the requirements of the Navy!

His first military assignment included painting insignias on airplanes at an Irish base!

After shoving off for Europe, however, Rockwell’s ship was diverted to South Carolina! 

There the artist got recruited as an illustrator for Afloat and Ashore, the Charleston Naval Yard’s official periodical!

The boy scouts of the United States Gave Rockwell a special thank you

Did you know this interesting secret about Rockwell?

In 1939, BSA officials handed Rockwell a Silver Buffalo before 3000 onlookers at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan!

It was the highest award of the organization!

By that time, between his early job at Boy’s Life and his continued cover of Post, Norman Rockwell had been painting some other things as well!

He had been painting heroic scouts on canvasses for the better part of three decades!

Rockwell’s professional relationship with scouting lasted for 64 years!

When Rockwell was 82 years old, he finished The Spirit of ’76, his last BSA-commissioned illustration!

Rockwell’s Four Freedom Series was depicted by the army

Rockwell’s Four Freedom Series

On January 6, 1941, F. D. Roosevelt gave a State of the Union address that was historic!

With the Axis powers looming ominously, he said that everyone must enjoy freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

Inspired by this address, Rockwell created a quartet of paintings!

Today, his Four Freedoms series is one of his most famous projects😲!

The government sent the originals on tour after these paintings were published in The Saturday Evening Post! Around 1.1 million people viewed them!

These masterpieces helped Uncle Sam sell about $133 million worth of war bonds!

All three wives of Rockwell were school teachers

Have you heard this amazing fact about Rockwell?

First, Rockwell married Irene O’Connor 👰‍♀️ in 1916. She was a boarding house instructor and also an occasional model for his paintings!

She was Rockwell’s model in his famous painting Mother Tucking Children into Bed!

This painting was published on the Literary Digest’s cover on January 19, 1921.

However, the couple split 14 years after the marriage!

Then Rockwell married Mary Barstow! She was a grade-school teacher who had three sons with Rockwell.

However, she died in 1959, and Rockwell married once more!

His third wife was Molly Punderson, a retired educator!

Norman Rockwell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977

Norman Rockwell Received The Presidential Medal Of Freedom

I am really impressed to learn this wonderful fact about this amazing illustrator and painter, Rockwell!

At the ceremony, Gerald Ford praised Rockwell as an “artist, illustrator, and author (whose) vivid and affectionate portraits of our country and ourselves have become a beloved part of the American tradition.”

At that time, when he received the honor🥇, Rockwell was about 83 years of age!

Rockwell’s struggle with depression

Though people can see optimism radiating from the paintings of Rockwell, his days weren’t always so easy!

The alcohol problem of his second wife forced the family to relocate from Arlington, Vermont, to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 

There she received expensive and regular therapy from psychoanalyst Erik Erikson.

Erikson was an immigrant from Germany! 

He conducted many sessions with Rockwell as Rockwell was prone to enter states of depression!

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are big fans of Rockwell

Big Fans Of Rockwell

Both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are owners of impressive collections of authentic collections of Rockwell!

There is a bit of an ongoing friendly competition as well.

When Spielberg learned that Lucas had a genuine oil painting of Rockwell, he decided to up the ante.

In 2010, Spielberg said, “I went out and got a bigger Rockwell!”

The creator of Star Wars 🎬 is a big fan of Rockwell’s mastery of visual narratives!

In July 2010, these two directors lent more than 50 Rockwell sketches and paintings to the Smithsonian American Art Museum as a part of a temporary exhibit!

In 2011 one of Rockwell’s paintings visited the White House

On November 14, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges started attending an elementary school in New Orleans!

She was the main subject of The Problem We All Live With (1963).

Because of the hostile environment, U.S. Marshals were asked to escort her!

In 1975, Stockbridge’s Norman Rockwell Museum first bought the painting The Problem We All Live With! 

However, since then, the painting traveled a lot and between June and October 2011, it was put on display at the White House’s West Wing hallway!

Bridges could go there herself and view it, with President Barack Obama at her side!

Norman Rockwell: Meet the official state artist of Massachusetts

Norman Rockwell An Official State Artist Of Massachusetts

I am really amazed to learn this remarkable fact about Rockwell! Want to know?

In the year 2008, the Bay State bestowed this amazing posthumous honor upon Rockwell!

Rockwell spent the last quarter century residing in the Berkshires!

In 2013, one of Rockwell’s paintings sold for around $50 million 

Little friends, did you know this wonderful fact about Rockwell?

Saying Grace is an amazing piece of art that depicts an older woman and a boy joining in prayer at a public restaurant!

In 1951, when Rockwell created it for The Saturday Evening Post, he got $3500!

Later, in an auction in December 2013, an unidentified buyer offered $46 to take it home!

That sum more than tripled the previous price paid for a work of Rockwell Breaking Home Ties! It had sold in 2006 for $15 million💰! Really amazing, isn’t it?

Stockbridge reenacts an iconic Rockwellian scene, every holiday season

Once, Rockwell described his longtime home town as “The best of America, the best of New England.”

Stockbridge also loves him right back!

Every year, on the first Sunday in December, Stockbridge goes to great lengths to stage a real-life copy of Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas (Home for Christmas). 

It is Rockwell’s amazing painting done in the year 1967!

For added authenticity, antique cars that can completely match their illustrated counterparts are brought it! 

Also, fortunately, with very few exceptions, most of the buildings look a lot like they did in Rockwell’s time!

Rockwell died at the age of 84

Death Of Norman Rockwell

This amazing illustrator and painter Norman Rockwell passed away on November 8, 1978.

He died⚰️ due to emphysema at the age of 84 in his own home in Stockbridge, Massachusetts!

First Lady Rosalynn attended his funeral!

Summing up

So little fact explorers, how are you feeling after learning so many interesting facts about Norman Rockwell😲!!?

We have tried to collect as much information about this famous artist as possible…and we are sure you are satisfied 😊!!

Looking forward to know your answers!

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