Friday, November 28, 2014

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

I thought I would bring you a Norman Rockwell day after Thanksgiving feast.

Cousin Reginald Catches the Thanksgiving Turkey - 1917
Classic Rockwell humor done early in his career at the age of 23.  This is the largest image I could find.  If you know of a better scan, let me know and I will replace it in this post.  That goes for any of the images here!

Thanksgiving - 1919

The Wishbone - 1921

Couple Uncrating Turkey - 1921

A Pilgrim's Progress - 1921
Ye Glutton - 1923

Chef with Thanksgiving Menu - 1942

Freedom From Want - 1943
Freedom from Want wasn't published as a Thanksgiving image.  Rockwell had originally intended it to be one, but it became part of the Four Freedoms images instead.    
Thanksgiving: Girl Praying - 1943
Published in the same year as Freedom from Want this is a powerful contrast.  A cold refugee of war kneels among ruins and gives thanks over what looks like a rather simple small meal.

Thanksgiving: Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes - 1945
Published a couple months after the end of World War 2, this painting must have been full of wonderful sentiment for a country still celebrating the return of its' soldiers.

Saying Grace - 1951
This was the last of Rockwell's paintings to be used on the cover of a Thanksgiving issue.  It is my favorite.  I have had the chance to see it in person.  The light in the painting is awesome.  The textures and drawing are perfect.  The scene through the window is painted so thin you can see the pencil through it, while the foreground elements use a subtle impasto to great effect.  This, for me, is Rockwell at his best.

Thank you Dan for inviting me to contribute to Muddy Colors, for the others who write for Muddy Colors and for you, the readers, who create discussion and give feedback!

Thank you,

Howard Lyon


  1. Thanks for this. I also find it interesting how his style changed over the course of his career. I know he worked from life earlier in his career and began using photos more and more as his career advanced-- since it had become so common amongst illustrators meeting deadlines.

    You can see that his earlier work is more idealized, while his later work becomes more naturalistic/photographic. Both approaches were beautiful though.

  2. Thanks, Howard....these are great to see as a group! 'Saying Grace' is indeed a Rockwell masterpiece. The back of that kid's head alone is so Rockwell, and so good. Childhood summed up in one figure. Like you, I adore that outside scene, too. So thin, and yet the information is just perfect.

    Rockwell is so underplayed by fine artists, but he was a phenomenal painter. No matter what era. Period.

    I would encourage readers here to also check out his early work. The strokes are beautiful.


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