As Wikipedia notes, "Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978) was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for more than four decades."
But Norman Rockwell, Caricature Artist?
Welcome to 2015's Opus One of our monthly Not Your Usual Caricature Artist from Caricatures by Joel.
I went recently to an exhibit of his work that showed how he used photography to first establish his concepts (using real friends and neighbors as models, not professionals), from which he then painted his many published and commissioned pieces over a period of 60-plus years.
The thing that struck me was how often -- notwithstanding his penchant for representational realism -- he "embellished" a face or slightly exaggerated a body to lend whimsy and character to his tableaux.
So, if we are to define "caricature" as "a picture, description or imitation of a person or thing in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect," then America's greatest artistic chronicler of our social mores and pastimes could certainly wear the mantle of one...if only occasionally.
As these other, typically brilliant illustrations might indicate:
Along with the great illustrator/caricaturists of Mad Magazine -- Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Tom Richmond, Jack Rickard, Drew Friedman and others -- Norman Rockwell stands tall as one of my heroes.
Here are a few commissioned works from yours truly that I can only hope would have at least elicited a nod of the head from Mr. Rockwell.
TV executive moving from Charlotte to Houston.
Executive, upon retirement.
Pete Rose on the right (guest speaker), with the founder of the Myers Park Networking Group, Bill Albaugh.
Client...of a client...enjoying his recreational spoils.
And since Rockwell was fond of occasionally inserting himself into his work...here's the latest self-indulgence from yours truly.
The Norman Rockwell exhibit is on display at the Columbia (SC) Museum of Art through January 18.
See you again the first Tuesday of next month for another broad brushstroke of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist from Caricatures by Joel.