Norman Rockwell is perhaps the most famous American artist who ever lived. His was an illustrator who defined his era and America for many generations. His art and depictions of American life is etched in the collective memories of those of us whose grow up in that era. His America was the idealized America which stood as a beacon for all other countries to strive for and though it may never have really existed it is a fine model to try and live up to.
Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for more than four decades. Among the best-known of Rockwell’s works are the Willie Gillis series, Rosie the Riveter (although his Rosie was reproduced less than others of the day),Saying Grace (1951), The Problem We All Live With, and the Four Freedoms series. He is also noted for his work for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA); producing covers for their publication Boys’ Life, calendars, and other illustrations.
Rockwell’s work was dismissed by serious art critics in his lifetime. Many of his works appear overly sweet in modern critics’ eyes, especially the Saturday Evening Post covers, which tend toward idealistic or sentimentalized portrayals of American life— this has led to the often-deprecatory adjective “Rockwellesque.” Consequently, Rockwell is not considered a “serious painter” by some contemporary artists, who often regard his work as bourgeois and kitsch. Writer Vladimir Nabokov sneered that Rockwell’s brilliant technique was put to “banal” use, and wrote in his book Pnin: “That Dalí is really Norman Rockwell’s twin brother kidnapped by Gypsies in babyhood”. He is called an “illustrator” instead of an artist by some critics, a designation he did not mind, as it was what he called himself.