Friday, December 27, 2013
Underlying Rockwell's every painting and gesture was his faith in the redemptive power of story-telling -- stories, he believed, were a buffer against despair and emptiness. Each of his Post covers amounts to a one-frame story complete with a protagonist and plot. Among his earliest inspirations was Charles Dickens, who taught him how to espy stories on every street corner. In some ways, Rockwell's paintings, which are grounded in the rendering of particulars, demands to be "read" like a story. The experience they offer is literary as much as visual, in the sense that he cared less about the sensual dazzle of oil pint than the construction of a seamless narrative. The public that saw and appreciated his paintings walked away from them thinking not about the dominance of cerulean blue or cadmium yellow but about the kid on the twenty-foot-high diving board up in the sky, terrified as he peers over the edge and realizes there is only one way down.
-Deborah Solomon, as excerpted from American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell