October 29, 2006
So What's Wrong with Norman Rockwell?
I have never understood why the art community looked down their respective noses at illustrators. Just a few that I recall quickly are Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, J. Leyendecker and the son of N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth. I suspect illustrators, the really good ones, take home some handy amount of change if they are still in the work-a-day work routine. But I suspect that it was and maybe still is a class thing. I ran across this in an Art for Dummies book recently, and a person of no less qualifications than Thomas Hoving, an elite art historian wrote what follows.
by Thomas Hoving, eminent art historian
In addition to an acceptance of all styles and modes of expression today there's a refreshing gradual disappearance of art critism based purely on ideology. Critics and historians are beginning to recognize that styles are simply languages with one no inherently better than another. There are fewer and fewer art critic fights and tantrums defending one style against another. There's also a forgiving, permissive mood currently gaining ground in the art world.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), who only a decade ago was considered by most art critics to be a hopelessly mawkish illustrator of little talent and no energy, has recently been touted, even by the curator of 20th century art at New York's Guggenheim Museum (which has the subtitle of The Museum For Non-Objective Art hardly Norman's forte), as a major artistic force and potent communicator in America from the 1930's through the 1960's. I agree.