American painter & illustrator of 20th century, Norman Percevel Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894, to Jarvis Waring and Ann Mary (Hill) Rockwell, in New York. His grandfather, Thomas Hill, was an English artist, who was known for his animal drawings. His father was a businessman and liked to copy illustrations from magazines. Apart from his artistic lineage, Rockwell's friends too were instrumental in his growth as an artist. The painter was a gawky, skinny child with pigeon-toed feet & spectacles, and with a nickname "Moony." Norman Rockwell made up for his lack of interest in sports by painting for his friends. At the age of five, the artist would make cardboard cutouts of ships and paint them, which made him popular among his peers.
Owing to his interest in art, Norman Rockwell joined the Chase School of Fine and Applied Art at the age of fourteen. Later, he joined the National Academy of Design, but their strict schedule drve Norman to join the Art Students League in 1910. It was here, at the age of sixteen, the artist received his first paid assignment, where he painted four Christmas cards. In 1912, the painter had his first job as an illustrator for the "Tell Me Why Stories." These illustrations made him very popular. At the age of twenty-one, Norman's family moved to New Rochelle, New York, where he set up a studio along with the cartoonist Clyde Forsythe. There the illustrator began a series of freelancing work for magazines, such as "Life," "Literary Digest," and "County Gentleman."
On May 20, 1916, Norman's first cover of Saturday Evening Post made its appearance. This work was titled, "Mother's Day Off." The same year, the artist married Irene O'Connor, which though, ended in 1928. Rockwell published 321 covers for the Saturday Evening Post over a period of 47 years. Some of his famous pieces of work include "Circus Barker and Strongman," "Gramps at the Plate," "Redhead loves Hatty Perkins," "Man playing Santa," "Mother tucking children into Bed," "The Willie Gillis series, and "Saying Grace (1951)." In 1930, the painter married Mary Barstow. During this period, Norman was asked to illustrate Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer." The perfectionist that he was, Rockwell traveled to Hannibal, Missouri to get a feel of the place in order to make his illustrations optimal close.
During World War II, in1943, the artist painted the "Four Freedoms" series, which deputed President Roosevelt's principles for universal rights. These paintings became so famous that they raised $ 139.9 million in an exhibition for the war effort. The same year, Rockwell's studio was engulfed in a fire, where he lost all his paintings and his props. In 1958, after the death of his wife, Norman Rockwell started work on his autobiography, "My Adventures as an Illustrator," which was published in 1960. In 1961, Rockwell married Mary L. "Molly" Punderson. In 1963, Rockwell ended his association with Saturday Evening Post and started working for "Look" magazine. It was here that he was able to express his concerns on civil rights and poverty. "Southern Justice (1965)" and "The Problem We All Live With" are a few provocative creations of the painter.
In addition to the above, the artist did advertisements for AT & T, Campbell Soup, Coco-Cola, and Ford Motor Company. He also made movie promotional booklets, murals, posters, six United States postage stamps, and an album cover for Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper. Rockwell used to make nearly $ 40,000 in a year. His last published work was the cover of "American Artist" in 1976. In 1977, the artist was conferred the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Norman Rockwell died on November 8, 1978, at the age of 84 at Stockbridge, Massachusetts. His illustrations continue to fascinate and inspire the next generation of artists worldwide.