The Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge

Stockbridge, MA



Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People


America is falling in love with Norman Rockwell all over again. Following successful engagements in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Diego and Phoenix, Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People is coming to the Norman Rockwell Museum in his beloved hometown of Stockbridge for an exclusive New England appearance from June 9 to October 21, 2001. More than three-quarters of a million people will have seen this landmark exhibition of more than 70 of Rockwell's original oil paintings and all 322 of his Saturday Evening Post covers by the time it arrives in Stockbridge. (left: Rosie the Riveter, 1943 © Curtis Publishing Company, The Saturday Evening Post cover, oil on canvas, 52 x 40 inches, C403, Private collection; right: Girl with Black Eye, 1953 © Curtis Publishing Company, The Saturday Evening Post cover, oil on canvas, 34 x 30 inches, C466, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CT, Gift of Kenneth Smith)

"It's a joy to be able to present a major comprehensive exhibition to the nation with well-known works from our Museum, as well as rarely-seen classics from private collections and other institutions," says Laurie Norton Moffatt, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum. "We've watched with pleasure as a new generation has discovered the power of Rockwell's original paintings. It was heart-wrenching to send some of our most-loved Rockwells on the road, but we knew the reward would be the return of this big, glorious show to Stockbridge where all of New England would be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." (left: Doctor and Doll, 1929 © Curtis Publishing Company, The Saturday Evening Post cover, oil on canvas, 32 x 26 1/4 inches, C303, Private collection; right: Shuffleton's Barbershop, 1950 © Curtis Publishing Company, The Saturday Evening Post cover, oil on canvas, 46 1/4 x 43 inches, Collection of the Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA)

Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People will make its final stop in New York City at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (November 16, 2001 - March 3, 2002). The exhibition is organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.


Norman Rockwell's Stockbridge

Those who visit the exhibition at Stockbridge will be able to walk down Main Street, Stockbridge, where visitors will recognize scenes that are familiar from the artist's works and may even catch a glimpse of one of Rockwell's models or their descendants who still live in the town. Main Street, made famous by Rockwell, is just minutes from the Museum. (left: Stockbridge Mainstreet at Christmas (Home for Christmas), 1967 © The Norman Rockwell Family Trust, McCall's illustration, oil on canvas, 26.5 x 95.5 inches, Collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge)

In Stockbridge, Rockwell's home for the last 25 years of his life, this extraordinary traveling exhibition of his masterpieces will take on special significance while on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum. A number of the paintings included in the tour, such as Rosie the Riveter, Doctor and Doll, Girl with Black Eye and Gary Cooper as the Texan, have never been on view at the Museum. (left: Norman Rockwell painting Stockbridge Mainstreet at Christmas, 1967, photo by Louie Lamone, photo courtesy of the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge)

One special highlight of the exhibition is an adult audio tour created to enhance the visitor's experience that features illuminating interviews with Rockwell's models and commentary by the nationally renowned historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. The exhibition is also accompanied by an award-winning audio tour designed especially for children and families and a fully illustrated, 200-page catalogue.


Excerpts from the catalogue, Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. in association with The Norman Rockwell Museum and the High Museum of Art.


"In American art, there has rarely been a creator of such influence as Norman Rockwell. These days, now that the obsession for abstraction has cooled, his achievements are being discovered by scholars. Rockwell is more and more identified - correctly - as a cultural phenomenon. one who made a sea change in the perception of art in this nation."
Tom Hoving
"Norman Rockwell had an extraordinary ability to create narrative imagery, virtually inventing a visual vocabulary that gave shape and definition to the ideas. social needs, and aspirations of twentieth-century American culture."
Judy L. Larson and Maureen Hart Hennessey
"In the history of Western art, this idea expresses itself in the traditional distinction between 'history painting' and 'genre painting.' Genre painting, in this tradition. concerns itself with 'low' subjects, with everyday people whose ordinary, inconsequent activities - eating, gambling, smoking, reading, singing, and playing the lute - are portrayed as evidence of human vanitas, as testaments to the perpetual evanescence of earthly desires. History painting, on the other hand, concerns itself with kings, heroes, gods and saints and their consequent (which is to say historical) activities. Norman Rockwell's great achievement was introducing this distinction and investing the everyday activities of ordinary people with a sense of historical consequence, and this acute micro-historical consciousness, I think, best explains Rockwell's survival as an artist of consequence.
Dave Hickey (left: Norman Rockwell working on Painting the Little House, 1921, photographer unknown, photo courtesy of the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge; right: Norman Rockwell posing the model for Day in the Life of Little Girl, 1952, photo by Gene Pelham, photo courtesy of the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge)
"Norman Rockwell keeps pricking my art-historical conscience.....We are learning that there are many fresh approaches to Rockwell, even psychological ones....It's a tribute to Rockwell's diverse powers that his art now seems to look in so many directions, including transatlantic ones.....Just in time for the new millennium, we may have a new Rockwell....."
Robert Rosenblum


The Norman Rockwell Museum and the Rockwell Studio

One of only a handful of single-artist museums in the United States, the Norman Rockwell Museum is located on a scenic 36-acre estate with rolling lawns and striking vistas. This inviting setting, where visitors stroll and picnic on the grounds and children play on whimsical outdoor sculptures by Rockwell's son Peter, sets the stage to explore the dramatic Museum building designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern, who based it on a New England town hall concept. (left: Norman Rockwell's Stockbridge Studio, The Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge, photo by James Patrick)

Visitors to the Museum can also experience the intimacy of Rockwell's Stockbridge studio, one of the few major artists' studios preserved in the United States, where many of his most famous works were created. The studio, moved to the Museum grounds from Rockwell's home, was left as it was during the last years of Rockwell's life and contains his 500-volume art library, his furnishings and decorative items, ethnographic objects, mementos collected on his travels and gifts sent by admirers. (right: Interior of Norman Rockwell's Stockbridge Studio, The Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge, © Brownie Harris, Courtesy of GE)

Norman Rockwell helped found the Museum, which opened in 1969 and moved to its present location in 1993. The Norman Rockwell Museum welcomes nearly 200,000 visitors each year and is one of the most popular year-round tourist destinations in the Berkshires, a resort area offering a rich array of cultural pursuits and natural beauty. (left: Norman Rockwell painting Art Critic, 1955, photo by Bill Scovill, photo courtesy of The Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge)

Additional information on this exhibition (including more images):


Additional resources on Norman Rockwell:

Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Norman Rockwell Museum

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/23/11

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