NORMAN ROCKWELL by Beverly Gherman


Storyteller with a Brush
Age Range: 8 - 11
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A handsome, well-designed book and a terrific, engaging read, this is an openly affectionate portrait of Rockwell as both the man and the artist. Young Norman left high school at fifteen to study at the National Academy and the Art Students League. He was just eighteen when he became the art director for the Boy Scouts’ Boys’ Life magazine. Shortly thereafter, Rockwell was shocked that The Saturday Evening Post bought the first two paintings he showed them and immediately commissioned three more covers! These two early associations shaped his long, productive, and lucrative career. Gherman (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1996) takes her readers into the studio and skillfully blends biographical details into her survey of Rockwell’s techniques, models, and imagery. Parents and teachers will welcome the opportunity to introduce his inspirational WWII suite of paintings “The Four Freedoms” (based on Roosevelt’s speech) to contemporary children. Once seen, few will forget “The Problem We All Live With” (his 1964 Look Magazine painting of a young Ruby Bridges escorted into her New Orleans elementary school flanked by Federal marshals). Open page design, attractive typeface, and generous white space set off a luscious sampling of well-chosen full color reproductions and fascinating black and while photos. This biography is well timed; Rockwell and his oeuvre are in international resurgence. Critics are finally acknowledging that Rockwell’s “high art’ aesthetic both intersects with and transcends popular culture. The buzz generated by the Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People show now touring the country’s major museums will definitely reach the elementary school set. As such, this appealing biography will certainly meet and exceed the expectations of a burgeoning new audience for the artist’s life and work. (Biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-689-82001-1
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2000


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