American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell explores Norman Rockwell's unparalleled role as an American icon-maker and storyteller. The book, a catalogue to a special exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum, traces the evolution of Rockwell's art and iconography throughout his career-- from carefully choreographed reflections on childhood innocence in such paintings as No Swimming (1921) to powerful, consciousness-raising images like The Problem We All Live With (1964), which documented the traumatic realities of desegregation in the South. American Chronicles demonstrates how Rockwell's images provided Americans with a vocabulary for describing and celebrating themselves, their country, and their experiences in the twentieth century. Written in an engaging style and from an insider's point of view, the book begins with Rockwell's early life, student years, and career in Manhattan, Mamaroneck, and New Rochelle, New York. In subsequent chapters, the author explores Rockwell's life and artworks when he lived in Arlington, Vermont, and later in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he enjoyed the life of a famous working artist for his last 25 years. Of special interest to Rockwell aficionados will be the color reproductions of Rockwell's art, color-corrected to the Museum's original paintings.
Readers will delight in an array of intriguing archival portraits of Rockwell throughout his life. Many of these images are being published for the first time, for they existed until now only as fragile negatives on acetate film in the Museum's archive.
The creation of his 1965 painting Murder in Mississippi is told in step-by- step detail, illuminating the artist's working process. Research materials, handwritten notes, reference photographs, preliminary studies, the final painting, the published image in the magazine tear sheet, and portraits of the artist in the midst of creation all make for a captivating and in-depth documentation of Rockwell's working process and methods. The book concludes with 28 pages of rarely or never-before-seen black-and-white photographs of Rockwell's studios from the Museum's comprehensive photographic collection. Photographs by Rockwell's assistants Gene Pelham, Louie Lamone, and Bill Scovill capture the artist and his models at work during the height of his career.