Norman Percevel Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894. He was a renowned painter and illustrator whose work enjoyed immense praise and veneration among the American masses. Rockwell’s prime cause of recognition is the depiction of everyday life scenarios in his illustrations. The Willie Gillis series and The Problem We All Live With are among his most famous pieces.
Norman Rockwell spent most of his childhood in New York City. His parents, Jarvis Waring Rockwell and Anne Mary Rockwell were of English descent. Jarvis Waring Rockwell was a manager at known textile firm. His brother, Jarvis Waring Rockwell, Jr., was his only sibling,
At the young age of fourteen, Rockwell enrolled himself in the Chase Art School. His next venue was the National Academy of Design before finally transferring to Art Students League. Over here he was a student of the likes of Thomas Fogarty, and Frank Vincent DuMond.
Rockwell was never a prominent student in class. In fact he was mostly given roles of minimal importance. It was at the age of eighteen that he eventually got his break when he drafted his first illustration book titled Tell Me Why: Stories about Mother Nature.
Post the release, Rockwell started a job in the art department of Boys’ Life magazine which marked the start of his freelancing career. He held the job for three years. Soon after, he moved to New York. His vicinity included illustrators like Frank Leyendecker and Howard Chandler Christy. There, he constructed his studio with the collaboration of a well known cartoonist and produced illustrations for a number of famous magazines.
At the age of 22 Rockwell designed his first cover for a magazine. In 1916 Rockwell married Rene O’Connor who had been his model in Mother Tucking Children into Bed. However the duo divorced in 1930. Heartbroken, Rockwell wanting a change in his milieu moved to California. Incidentally this year marked the beginning of the most fruitful ones of Rockwell’s artistic journey. In the same year he also married a school teacher named Mary Barstow. With her Rockwell had three kids.
In 1943, Rockwell played a pivotal role in inspiring the President Franklin Roosevelt’s address to Congress by creating what he called the Four Freedoms paintings. The paintings were a source of immense acclaim for Rockwell. However, in the same year a fire destroyed much of Rockwell’s work.
In 1953, the Rockwell family moved to Vermont where he wife unexpectedly passed away six years later. With his son, Thomas Rockwell published an autobiography which went on to become a famous best seller. Soon after, Rockwell ran into a retired school teacher Molly Punderson. Thereafter the two soon got married.
In 1973, Rockwell formed a trust to conserve his work. He decided to grant the custody to Old Corner House Stockbridge Historical Society. Today the trust has become a home of Rockwell’s collections. By 1976 Rockwell began to feel more and more worried about his ailing health. His anxiety about the future of his studio grew to the extent that he decided to entrust that to the trust as well. In 1977 Rocwell won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2008, he was entitled as the official state artist of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Norman Rockwell died on November 8, 1978 at the age of age 84. At his funeral, Jarvis Rockwell Jr., served as one of his five pallbearers.