Norman Rockwell has long been a favorite artist of mine. During his time however, he never received the credit due to him because he was an illustrator. Illustration was a profession that was frowned upon by the art community of that time. There was a clear division between what was deemed “art” and what was considered”commercial”. Any artist that created for profit or for publication was not considered an “artist”. Being an illustrator myself, this designation placed on one of my favorite artists has always bothered me.
Recently, Norman Rockwell has been somewhat redeemed (at least by the public) with the sell of his
illustration painting, “Saying Grace”, which sold for $46 million dollars at Sotheby’s American Art Auction on December 4. The image originally appeared on the cover of Thanksgiving edition of “The Saturday Evening Post” in 1951, a publication in which Rockwell’s work could frequently be found.
Rockwell’s paintings have fetched millions before, but this selling price is truly remarkable and I hope that it helps solidify Rockwell’s place among American artists.
Rockwell’s work ethic was unmatched and his dedication to his craft is undeniable. He possessed an amazing ability to communicate an uniquely American message in his works.
It is my opinion that this where the designation of an “artist” is found – a combination of skill and the ability to communicate through that skill. And if this is the measure of an artist, then Rockwell should be considered one of the finest.