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Published as a companion to a major traveling exhibition of Norman Rockwell's art, Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People reappraises one of America's most beloved illustrators, shedding new light on the complexity of his work and the importance of his influence on mass-media imagery. In addition to displaying to glorious advantage 80 of Rockwell's most famous paintings, this book includes insightful essays by a wide range of distinguished contributors, from art historians and cultural critics to a child psychiatrist and a graphic designer. Fourteen essays by art historians and academics address broad themes, specific issues (such as school desegregation), and the critical fortunes of Rockwell's work--without preconceptions or prejudgments. Like Rockwell's art itself, the catalog is clearly organized and accessible, and like his art, the essays are thoughtful and repay close reading. Although brief, these essays are also of uniformly high quality. Icon that he was, it is now possible to look at Rockwell's work in historical context; this book, edited by two museum curators, succeeds thoroughly in this regard. Some essays effuse praise, some give anecdotal yet enlightening information about Rockwell's subjects, and some offer in depth, scholarly analyses of his works. The variety of interpretations of Rockwell's style and work shows a complexity in a collection often viewed as simple and sentimental. The book's greatest strength lies in the 133 full color plates and illustrations that document Rockwell's progress as illustrator, painter, and storyteller. Above all, this important volume examines Norman Rockwell's critical place in 20th-century American culture.


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Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People

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