Our cover this month, Study for ‘Adirondack Winter’ by Norman Rockwell, sold for $100,000 at Christie’s American Art sale on Oct. 28, 2020 in New York City. Unlike many artists who took some time to forge their way, Rockwell found success at a relatively young age. He painted his first commission, four Christmas cards, before his 16th birthday and was soon hired as art director of Boys’ Life, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America. And, that was just the beginning of his long, prolific career.
In addition to 47 years spent illustrating the covers of The Saturday Evening Post, Rockwell also illustrated a plethora of well-known magazines and books, including Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He also painted portraits of many famous subjects, including Judy Garland and Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. Despite all his success, however, art critics often dismissed Rockwell as a serious artist, instead dubbing his work as kitsch and referring to him as simply an “illustrator.” Rockwell, for his part, didn’t object to such a label.
A savvy man (or on the advice of a smart estate planner), Rockwell created a trust to preserve his own legacy by placing his works in custodianship of what’s now known as the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.