self portrait

The artist's "Triple Self Portrait" (1960). "I paint life as I would like it to be," Rockwell acknowledged.

On Friday, July 1, 1994 at 11 a.m. at the museum, The United States Postal Service issued five stamps honoring the centennial of Norman Rockwell's birth. Rockwell's three sons, Jarvis, Thomas, and Peter were featured guests at the ceremony. "Triple Self Portrait a 1960 Saturday Evening Post Cover, were issued as a 29 cent stamp. The "Four Freedoms--(of Speech, Fear, Want, and Worship" were issued as 50 cent stamps and sold in mini sheets. All five original paintings are part of the museum's permanent collection.

Ordinary people Unlike most of the artists who worked to commission in the past, Rockwell did not like to paint the rich and famous. Many of his models were people who could not earn a living in any other way. Their faces were gnarled and wrinkled and corroded by struggle, by the little cubby-holes they lived in, by the rough lives they led. That, Rockwell believed, was what gave their faces character."Successful people are almost as much fun to paint as a slab of warm butter. They have succeeded in looking conventional - sleek, well-groomed."

At his best Rockwell was a wonderful storyteller. He discovered early in his career that funny ideas with compassion,was better.

His commitment to detail was extraordinary. The story is often told of when Rockwell, on a field trip to Hannibal, Missouri, to soak up the atmosphere for illustrations he was doing for Mark Twain's classic novels, bought old clothes off the backs of hoboes for high prices.

"You can't buy a straw hat and make it old by rubbing dirt into it. I'd tried that, and it doesn't work. A hat has to be worn in the sun and sweated in and sat on and rained on. Then it'll be old. And look it."

Although there is controversy among "art experts", as to whether Rockwell is an artist or illustrator. To the critics who mean the most, The American public, Rockwell is THE great American Artist.

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