Friday, 11 February 2011

Norman Rockwell's America

The Dulwich Picture Gallery, located just outside of central London, seems to be favouring some great American artists lately. Last year they had an exhibition on the Wyeth family (N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth etc) and right now the gallery has a special exhibition on America's probably most well-loved artist, Norman Rockwell.

Apart from original paintings the gallery has covered a long stretch of wall with ever Saturday Evening Post cover Rockwell ever did. It's the work of a lifetime spanning four decades. Seeing them all hanging there side-by-side gives you an impression of what a prolific illustrator Rockwell was and how with-the-times he must've been to capture the American heart and imagination in the way he did.

Rockwell's mass appeal probably hasn't done wonders for his gallery presence so it's a real treat to see a gallery putting the spotlight him. Despite what critics have to say about his depth and choice of subject matter I think that each Saturday Evening Post cover is a little delight in itself, and on the whole his body of work reflects a nation's attitude of an era. His pictures are idealistic to be sure, but without truth they could not have touched the hearts of so many. He chose simple, everyday situations to portray, yet through the artist's lens we see these moments in a new and beautiful light.
The ability to make people see things with a fresh pair of eyes, giving them a new perspective, is one of the greatest things about art.

Norman Rockwell's America at the Dulwich Picture Gallery runs until the 27th of March.


Belinda HK Leung said...

Hey Nana,

That's a nice study of Rockwell's painting and a lovely insight to his work.

I was at the exhibition just before christmas and was blown away by the masses of work he'd done. It's perhaps a little too much to take in in one visit so I'll definitely be popping by again before it's over.

Hope all's well!

nana said...

Hey Belinda, thanks for dropping by! I'm going again too. It feels so rare to get real Rockwells on this side of the Atlantic so we should make the most of it. :)