Let’s get this over with first: Norman Rockwell is a serious artist. Sure, he created most of his works for commercial purposes. Yes, he’s remembered most for his Saturday Evening Post and Look magazine covers. But to pretend he’s not a serious artist because he painted in a realistic and sentimental style is to ignore the obvious:
The man was good.
Rockwell’s talent is perhaps best summed up by a this, from the ever-reliable Wikipedia: “In 1999, The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl said of Rockwell in ArtNews: ‘Rockwell is terrific. It’s become too tedious to pretend he isn’t.’”
His talent was obvious early, as he became an art director of Boys Life magazine while still in his teens. He created his first Post cover at 22, and he was to do 321 more during his career. Among his most memorable paintings were the following, from top to bottom: The Four Freedoms Series; The Problem We All Live With; and The Golden Rule.