Friday, April 25, 2014



“Triple Self Portrait” – 1960

*  Special thanks to "Google Images", "United Nations News" and "USA Today".

by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Los Angeles, CA

In the world of art we are always delighted to see the record of  life through the images of history as the artist witnessed them.  Unlike photography; paintings are able to illustrate to some extent, more than just the images in a scene.  You could say that artist view the world through their own set of rose colored glasses, filtering out the unwanted background distractions and only painting the best elements of a picture. 
Norman Rockwell was no exception to this rule in the art world.  Rockwell however, had a talent for conveying life as he saw it in a special light.  A light which illuminated humanity with many of its faults and imperfections.  In fact we could say Norman thrived on the expressions of his subjects to illustrate more than just their mere physical form.  

When Rockwell painted a man, for example, the artist seemed to paint a part of that man’s soul and gave us a deeper feeling for what his subject was about.  His hand painted everything seen by his eyes; even to the smallest detail was part of his art. Even the dirt under a mans finger nails was important to Rockwell.
Even though the artist has passed away for some time ago, his work is still making news as the following two story from “The United Nations News” explains.  Next we turn to a story from "USA Today" which reports the recovery of a stolen Rockwell original painting.

‘Golden Rule,’ Iconic Norman Rockwell 

Mosaic, Rededicated at UN Headquarters

Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson speaks at the rededication of the Norman Rockwell “Golden Rule” mosaic. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

5 February 2014 – A mosaic based a on a work by American artist Norman Rockwell, long a favourite attraction on tours of the United Nations in New York, has been re-dedicated following its restoration during the reconstruction of the Headquarters complex.

Entitled “Golden Rule,” the work was presented to the UN in 1985 as a gift on behalf of the United States by then First Lady Nancy Reagan. The half-ton mosaic depicts people of different nationalities standing together with the words “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” inscribed on the surface.
Speaking at the rededication ceremony yesterday, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson ascribed the popularity of the work to its embrace both of multiculturalism and the idealism at the core of the United Nations.

“It reflects humanity – the wondrous mix of nationalities, creeds and colours,” Mr. Eliasson said.
“But it also reflects the very essence of our mission as set out in our Charter,” he added.
“At its core, the work is about narrowing the gap between the world as it is and the world as we want it to be,” he said.

Noting that the ethic described by the Golden Rule is common to numerous traditions, he cited a number of maxims, from the biblical “Love thy neighbour as thyself,” to the Yoruba “One taking a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.”

At the rededication, Mr. Eliasson also announced that the world Organization is currently in conversation with the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts on bringing to Headquarters a little-known Rockwell work called “The United Nations,” sketched years before the “Golden Rule” was painted.

“It is a remarkable piece – stretching eight feet and depicting members of the Security Council and the UN flag flanked by dozens of representatives of humanity,” he said.
Meanwhile, the “Golden Rule,” its cracks repaired, is back on view on the third floor of the Conference Building in the UN Headquarters complex. 

"USA Today"

Private Eye Finds Stolen 

Norman Rockwell Painting

Steve Lieberman, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News 9:47 p.m. EDT March 13, 2014

(Photo: Submitted photo via The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News)
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The anonymous voice on the phone told Dean Golemis to drive west on Interstate 80.

Golemis, a private investigator and former Rockland County Sheriff's Office detective, was hunting for Norman Rockwell's Sport, a painting of a fisherman wearing a yellow jacket and sitting in a rowboat that appeared on the April 1939 cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
The illustration, painted during Rockwell's last months in New Rochelle, N.Y., had been stolen from a Queens, N.Y., storage facility in September after being sold at auction months earlier for just more than $1 million.

STORY: Norman Rockwell masterpiece sells at record price

The private eye started driving Sunday. His goal was getting the painting back undamaged — with no questions asked.

"When I got into my car, all I knew was I was heading west on Interstate 80," Golemis said Thursday. "As I was driving, they called me back, kept calling me and calling," he said of his tipsters. "I ended up in Ohio."
After driving for hours on his 500-mile trip, Golemis said he eventually met up with the voice on the telephone who gave him Rockwell's painting — still in its storage wrapping.

Golemis, who runs Global Security and Investigative Services in Pearl River, N.Y., said he was not a liberty to discuss whom he met, his client, details of the investigation or the recovery of the artwork. He had been working tangentially with the New York City Police Department detectives since taking the case in October, but he developed his own leads and contacts.

"It came down to good old-fashion police work, interviewing people, interviewing people," Golemis said. "It was a very difficult case. I got some lucky breaks."

Golemis has been a private investigator for six years. He retired in 2013 as a sheriff's detective after 16 years in Rockland. He previously spent four years with the New York Police Department.
"I've had some high-value cases for some influential clients," Golemis said. "This is the most high-profile case."

Rockwell lived in New Rochelle for 25 years where he painted magazine covers in his studio between 1919 and 1939, the year he left the city for Arlington, Vt.

The famed illustrator dropped out of high school at age 16 in 1911.

The Saturday Evening Post, then the country's leading weekly periodical, often featured Rockwell's work, including the baseball-themed Rookie and other paintings of everyday American life.

The model for Sport was Fred Hildebrandt, a friend and fellow illustrator who worked as Rockwell's studio assistant in New Rochelle, said Jeremy Clowe, manager of media services for the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

Clowe said the active illustration community drew Rockwell to New Rochelle, where he created many of his iconic works.
Clowe said Hildebrandt, an avid fisherman, posed for Sport in a yellow slicker sitting in a boat in the rain. He has an upside-down pipe stuck in his mouth.
"This was a fairly humorous honor to his fisherman-friend and fellow artist," Clowe said.
Sport was part of a private collection in Birmingham, Ala., until it sold on May 22 at Sotheby's in New York City. The buyer had the piece stored at Welpak Art Moving and Storage in Queens.
Welpak confirmed the painting had been recovered but referred questions to attorney Jean Gardner, who didn't return a call for comment. In a news release, Welpak thanked Golemis and the NYPD for their efforts to recover the artwork.
Clowe said he was not surprised at the price paid for Rockwell's work by private collectors. The museum has the world's largest collection of Rockwell's work, Clowe said. Rockwell spent the last 25 years of his life in Stockbridge.
"His works are setting records at auctions," Clowe said. "There is demand for the work. I am glad they recovered the painting. His works on everyday scenes are very popular."

"USA Today"


It would not be an exaggeration to say that Norman Rockwell is the greatest artist this country has ever produced!  There are not enough superlatives to describe his work nor enough praise to complement his genius.  He was and still is simply the best of the best.  As a nation, the United States has produced some great artist.  Depending upon your taste in the world of art, one look at a Norman Rockwell painting will hook you drawing (no pun intended) us all into his world.  I would even classify his talents listing him among some of the world’s greatest artists placing him with Michael Angelo or one of the Dutch Masters.

“Girl At Mirror” – 1954
Rockwell captures a very intimate moment as the young lady
compares herself with a magazine photograph.  In truth she is
More beautiful than the model in the publication.

Rockwell’s eye was sharper than any camera lens.  His whit was sublime.  His perspective was so human.  No other artist has ever come close to paralleling the mastery and perfection that was his and his alone.  Some have tried to replicate his style and if “imitation is the highest and most sincere form of flattery” than this alone speaks the loudest in tribute.  I am envious of all those who are fortunate enough to own one of his original paintings.  The canvas which bear his famous and distinctive signature; Norman Rockwell.  He and his paintings are national treasures.

“The Homecoming” – 1945
Classic Rockwell “Saturday Evening Post” Cover

His studio was the world around him – the people and the American landscape of his time which was probably learned during his youth.  He brought all he saw into a “still life” portrait of humor and satire.  A slice of Americana which touched us all to our core. If he had been a writer in the 1800’s he would have given the great novelist, Mark Twain an equal to measure up to.  In fact, I could classify the two men together.  Maybe this is Rockwell’s secret.  Maybe this is why he is so beloved, not only by his own generation, but by all those which have followed. 

“The Young Lady With The Shiner” – 1953

When I was studying photography all those years ago I soon learned there was more to the mechanics of the camera and the chemical reaction between light, film and photographic printing paper.  I began to look beyond the books and instruction offered in my classes to learn not only how to take a picture but how make a great illustration of my work.  I wanted to make every print a “Rembrandt” and a “Master”.  Technically and artistically correct in every aspect, or at least as many points as possible.

April Fools – “Girl With Shopkeeper” – 1948

I began to study the work of other great photographers: Eisanstat, Adams, Liebovitz and Capa.  The photography of these legends then lead me into the world of art and guess who was there?  Rockwell, Remington, Disney and a host of other world class painters who taught me that there was more to the subject being photographed than just their physical form.  Seeing more than what my camera lens was showing me.  This is something which can’t be taught, it is only felt and interpreted by expression.  This is where Rockwell excelled.  This is why he is my favorite artist above all others.  He has been my mentor.  

(Above) Rockwell’s style imitated by artist Mark Dos Santos
(Below)  Computer “Wall Paper” illustrates Rockwell’s popularity
even today!

Norman Percevel Rockwell was born in New York City February 3, 1894 where he lived and grew up.  Leaving high school at the age of 14 he attended three different art schools; Chase, the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. Rockwell’s’ artistic prowess was becoming evident at an early age publishing his first book of illustrations in 1912.  By 1913 - 16 at the age of 19 he became the art editor for “Boys’ Life”, published by the Boy Scouts of America.  This would point the direction he would follow for the remainder of his life.

Small Town America

During the time that Norman began his career in the early 1900’s magazines were the main stream media of the day.  Movies and radio were still in their infancy; there was no television and certainly no computer and Internet.  Magazines and publishing were very, very big in the day so it would be fair to say that he was becoming a media star at a young age publishing his first magazine cover in 1913.

“The Problem We All Live With” – 1964

Throughout his professional career working for a number of publications  Norman continued his unique style illustration and is best remembered for his work with the “Saturday Evening Post” where he painted an incredible 323 magazine covers spanning some 47 years.  As a result of his success Rockwell received a number of commissions for projects ranging from presidential to record album covers.   “Look” magazine became Norman’s new home for 10 years where he worked on more serious topics such as civil rights, poverty and space exploration.

“Grissom and Young” –  U.S. NASA Astronauts

In 1977 the “Presidential Medal for Freedom” was presented to this prestigious painter and illustrator, the highest civilian honor available from the United States.  He is known to have painted some 4,000 works and a custodianship (the Norman Rockwell Museum) was established near his home in Stockbridge, Massachusetts as a conservatory for his work.  Other Rockwell originals may be found in various public collections.

“Freedom To Worship” – 1943

Norman lived to be 84 years of age and died November 8, 1978.  Fortunately his best works are available for viewing on Google Images and his web site.  A number of books have also been published illustrating a great number of his paintings.  This article has been dedicated to highlighting some of his most memorable works. 

(Above)“John F. Kennedy” – 35th. President of The United States
(Below) President Richard M. Nixon - 37th. President of The United States


"After The Prom" - 1957
"Marriage License" - 1955

"Treasures" - 1927
"Doctor And Doll" - 1929
From an Article entitled "The Four Freedoms".  "Freedom From Want" - 1943
"Before The Shot" - 1958



Norman Rockwell's art paints a picture of American life, so who better to create an August 1970 cover honoring America's then-king of late night? The painter — a favorite of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who collect his work — was doing portraits for the Saturday Evening Post in the '60s, says Joyce K. Schiller of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, "so this cover is in line with the illustrations he was creating in that decade." Rockwell's detail-oriented talent was hardly diminished when he painted this at age 76. "Notice how he conveyed the creases and wrinkles that were an essential part of Carson's face," says Schiller. "There is no sense of airbrushed features. Rockwell painted what he saw.“

Rockwell was so well known his style was often "duped" by other artists
in some unusual ways!

Hope you've enjoyed this look back at one of our countries treasured artistic talents.  As you may have guessed Norman was a very patriotic American and loved to illustrate our countries values. See you next week; Felicity Blaze Noodleman.

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