Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Gift of Rockwell For Father's Day

A Norman Rockwell book. With all the Rockwell titles already on my studio shelf ( I own no fewer than ten Rockwell tomes), you'd think that another one would barely make a ripple on my excitement meter, but you would be wrong. It seems that every new Rockwell book I get, I find something new or the essay holds a new nugget that I had never before heard or thought about.

In short, Rockwell becomes fresh again for me as I see his work through the eyes of others. Telling Stories- Norman Rockwell- from the collections of George Lucas and Steven Speilberg is an enjoyable read not just for the many classic Rockwell paintings that are beautifully reproduced therein, but for the historical and cultural context in which writers Virginia Mecklenburg and Todd McCarthy places them.

I have read many books on Rockwell including his own autobiography but this one put Rockwell's work in a different perspective for me. One in which no previous book had quite been able to do. Time is always an effective filter and maybe it's just that enough time has passed and enough prejudices have been set aside that the public (including the art critic public) can now enjoy the real value of what Rockwell achieved in his more than sixty year career.

Rockwell's body of work represents an accurate snapshot of our culture on canvas done in what most would consider a brilliantly executed fashion. One cannot argue Rockwell's technical prowess (I have long considered his to be among the most finely crafted of any paintings I have seen) so it is nice to see he is getting his due as an artist and storyteller.

I truly believe that in another hundred years or two, when all the abstract expressionism and meaningless constructions that pass for contemporary art these days have faded from memory, Rockwell will still be enjoyed and lauded as one of the icons of twentieth century art.

I am also excited that at least the George Lucas portion of the collection in this book will eventually be on display for all to see as Lucas builds an new museum to house his art collection.

Get Telling Stories-Norman Rockwell here

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