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Norman Rockwell: A Sixty Year Retrospective

DATES March 22, 1972 through May 14, 1972
ORGANIZING DEPARTMENT American Art
COLLECTIONS American Art
  • February 23, 1972 First Major Museum Exhibition of 60-Year Rockwell Retrospective And American Illustration Show to Run Through May 14

    For the past sixty years, Norman Rockwell has been the most popular and most beloved artist in America. Millions of Americans have cherished his Saturday Evening Post covers depicting the small but memorable moments everyone could share. Now for the first time in a major museum, more than seventy (70) of Rockwell’s original paintings will be shown at The Brooklyn Museum from March 22 through May 14, together with 123 works by outstanding American illustrators of the past century.

    “Rockwell in reproduction is not the same as Rockwell in the original," notes Thomas S. Buechner, former director of The Brooklyn Museum, who wrote the text for last year’s phenomenally successful Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator. “Most people know his work solely through the magazines for which he has done covers, illustrations, and advertisements by the thousands - paper reflections of paintings and drawings nobody ever saw. Now we have the originals before us...we can see beyond subject matter to the technique and, with perception, to the man himself...”

    Included in the Century of American Illustration section are original drawings, lithographs, watercolors and mixed media works by such artists as Howard Pyle, Reginald Marsh, N.C. Wyeth, Ben Shahn, John Sloan and Leonard Baskin.

    Admission to the Robert E. Blum Galleries where the Norman Rockwell paintings will be shown is $1.00 but the Century of American Illustration section is free.

    A comprehensive catalogue of the Norman Rockwell retrospective, containing 92 full-color illustrations including three- and four-page foldouts, 66 black and white reproductions and text by Thomas S. Buechner, will be available for $5.95. A separate Century of American Illustration catalogue, fully illustrated in color and black and white, with biographies and essays on American illustration, will be $3.50.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1972, 017.
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  • May 5, 1972 If you’ve recycled all your old Saturday Evening Post magazines or aren’t old enough to remember World War II, you have only one more week to discover Norman Rockwell’s America at The Brooklyn Museum. This Sunday, May 14 is the last day to see NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION with more than 80 of Rockwell's original paintings together with 123 original drawings, lithographs and watercolors by the outstanding American illustrators of the past century.

    By happy coincidence, the Rudy Perez Dance Theater will perform LOT PIECE in the plaza of The Brooklyn Museum at 2:00 P.M. that day. Described as a sound collage and outdoor activity event, LOT PIECE features 5 dancers and some 25 other performers. It was produced by City Center Spring Dance Festival in association with the Parks Recreation and Cultural Administration (PRCA) and the New York State Council on the Arts.

    Since NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION opened at The Brooklyn Museum on March 22, thousands of visitors have flocked to the museum to delight in Rockwell’s portrayal of small town America of a bygone, happier time. Special hours for the NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION are:

    Monday and Tuesday: 1 - 9 P.M.
    Wednesday - Saturday: 10 - 5 P.M.
    Sunday: 10 - 6 P.M.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1972, 031.
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  • April 4, 1972 It has been said that Norman Rockwell discovered America -- small town America, that is, of a bygone, happier time. Today young America, of the long-haired, blue-jeaned Now generation, is discovering Norman Rockwell at The Brooklyn Museum where NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION is on view through May 14.

    Together with their elders who remember it well, the young people are flocking to discover the America Rockwell so warmly and accurately portrayed in the more than 80 paintings exhibited that span his phenomenal 60-year career.

    Augmenting the Rockwell paintings are original drawings, lithographs, watercolors and mixed media works by leading illustrators of the past century which provide a broad view of the traditions of American illustration from which Rockwell developed.

    To accom[m]odate visitors, The Brooklyn Museum has scheduled extended hours for NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION:

    MONDAY AND TUESDAY: 1 - 9 P.M.
    WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY: 10 - 5 P.M.
    SUNDAY: 10 - 6 P.M.

    Admission to the NORMAN ROCKWELL paintings is $1.00 (50¢ for students and senior citizens on weekdays) but admission to A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION is free.

    Two special evening lectures of unusual interest have been scheduled. Admission is $2.50 and tickets may be purchased by mail or at the Museum.

    APRIL 11    6:30 P.M.    Milton Glaser
    DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION, AND PERSONALITY
    As a founder and currently design director of Push Pin Studios, Milton Glaser is eminently qualified to talk about contemporary illustration. He is also design director of NEW YORK magazine and is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.

    APRIL 25    6:30 P.M.    Thomas S. Buechner
    NORMAN ROCKWELL: PICTUREMAKER
    Thomas S. Buechner, former director of The Brooklyn Museum wrote the text for last year‘s definitive and beautiful book Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1972, 039.
    View Original
  • March 9, 1972 For the past sixty years, Norman Rockwell has told the story of the average man in paintings whose warmth and humor have endeared him to millions of Americans. His Saturday Evening Post covers, depicting the small but memorable moments everyone recognized and enjoyed, have been cherished by generations of devoted Rockwell fans. Now for the first time in a major museum, an exhibition of 80 of Norman Rockwell’s original paintings will open at The Brooklyn Museum from March 22 through May 14, together with 123 original drawings, lithographs and watercolors by the outstanding American illustrators of the past century.

    Born in New York, in 1894, Rockwell’s talent became evident at an early age. At 16, he enrolled in the Art Students League, one of whose founders was Howard Pyle, the greatest illustrator of his day and Rockwell’s idol. There he studied under George Bridgman, Thomas Fogarty and Arthur Burdett Frost, well known artists who strongly influenced Rockwell’s work. After a few commissions and a brief stint as art editor of an obscure magazine, Rockwell sold his first cover idea to the Saturday Evening Post in 1916, and from that time on, his loyalty to that publication and its editor, George Horace Lorimer, was unwavering.

    Rockwell's success was immediate and the demand for his work grew steadily. His output was prolific, and in the course of a phenomenal career, he has turned out with seeming ease 317 Post covers, innumerable book and magazine illustrations, cards, calendars, advertisements, posters and even murals. The number of Rockwell reproductions to date can be counted in the billions. Despite his facility, Rockwell has always agonized to same degree over his works. A perfectionist and a stickler for the visual truth of each minute detail, he casts his models with the practiced eye of a Broadway agent, personally hunts down authentic props and costumes (of which he has amassed a large collection), and makes numerous sketches and photographs until he captures the composition that most tellingly communicates his concept.

    Norman Rockwell describes himself as a storyteller - but the story of America as told by Norman Rockwell has been challenged by some as unreal and idealized. Rockwell himself says:

    “Maybe as I grew up and found the world wasn’t the perfectly pleasant place I had thought it to be, I unconsciously decided that, even if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be; and so I painted only the ideal aspects of it.”

    Nevertheless, through his portraits of ordinary people in every-day situations, Rockwell has documented the major events in our nation’s development, sociological as well as historical: from sports, movie stars, rumble seats, progressive education and senior proms to World War II, the Four Freedoms, civil rights, man’s first step on the moon and the politicians who shaped the country’s destiny -- Eisenhower, Kennedy and Nixon. Most recently, his portrait of President Nixon was unveiled in the Smithsonian Institute’s Portrait Gallery.

    Perhaps the reasons for Norman Rockwell’s enduring popularity have been best summed up by Ben Hibbs, close friend of Rockwell and former editor of the Saturday Evening Post:

    “It is no exaggeration to say simply that Norman Rockwell is the most popular, the most loved of all contemporary artists...while the face of the world was changing unbelievably Norman has amused, charmed and inspired a great many millions of Americans. The fact...is easy to understand when you know him, for somehow he himself is like a gallery of Rockwell paintings -- friendly, human, deeply American, varied in mood, but full, always, of the zest of living.”

    The Norman Rockwell 60-year retrospective section of the exhibition was organized by the Bernard Danenberg Galleries and will travel to seven other museums, including the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the De Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco.

    Complementing the paintings of Norman Rockwell is A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION, comprised of the works of leading American illustrators from 1850 to 1970 which will be shown only at The Brooklyn Museum. Drawn from both public and private collections, this exhibition was assembled by the Museum to place Rockwell's work in its historical perspective and to provide a broad view of the traditions of American illustration from which he developed. Along with such familiar names as Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, John Held, Jr., James Montgomery Flagg, Rockwell Kent, Milton Glaser and Peter Max, A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION includes many illustrators popular in their own day but now forgotten, and a number of artists not known primarily as illustrators, such as Thomas Eakins, John Sloan, and Alexander Calder.

    Admission to the NORMAN ROCKWELL paintings, in the Robert E. Blum Special Exhibition Gallery is $1.00 (students and senior citizens 50¢ on weekdays only) but A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION, in the second floor Print Galleries is free.

    A comprehensive catalogue Norman Rockwell: A Sixty Year Retrospective ($5.95) contains 92 full color illustrations, including three- and four-page foldouts, 66 black and white reproductions and text by Thomas S. Buechner, former director of The Brooklyn Museum and author of the text for Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator; and a separate Century of American Illustration catalogue ($3.50), fully illustrated in color, and black and white, with biographies of each artist and essays on American illustration, will be available at the Norman Rockwell Bookshop in the Main Lobby as well as in the exhibition galleries.

    Supplementing NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION is a series of fourteen (14) free Gallery Talks ALL-AMERICAN: THE GROWTH OF A TRADITION which will take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1:15 P.M.; two special Tuesday evening lectures at 6:30 P.M. featuring famed illustrator Milton Glaser (April 11) and Thomas S. Buechner (April 25) $2.50 each; and a series of Sunday feature films ROCKWELL’S AMERICA comprised of American classics of the 30’s and 40’s, (contribution $1.00). (PLEASE SEE ATTACHED SCHEDULE FOR COMPLETE DETAILS)

    Beginning Wednesday, March 22, The Brooklyn Museum will inaugurate special hours for the NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION exhibition.

    MONDAY AND TUESDAY: 1:00 to 9:00 P.M.

    WEDNESDAY TO SATURDAY: 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

    SUNDAY: 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

    NOTE: Visitors will not be admitted to the Rockwell Exhibition later than one-half hour before closing time.

    SPECIAL ROCKWELL INFORMATION TELEPHONE: 638-9015

    Nathan’s Brooklyn Museum will be open for refreshments during the special ROCKWELL hours.

    NOTE: The Brooklyn Museum’s other galleries will be open during regular museum hours only.

    Located on Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue, The Brooklyn Museum is easily reached by public transportation. There is a Broadway-7th Avenue IRT station - EASTERN PARKWAY - BROOKLYN MUSEUM - located directly in front of the building and ample parking space is available in the rear to accommodate visitors.

    [Below is Attached Schedule with Details]

    BROOKLYN MUSEUM
    Schedule of Special Events For
    NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION

    March 22 to May 14, 1972

    SPECIAL GUEST LECTURES on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.
    Admission is $2.50 (Members $2.00)

    April 11 - “Design, Illustration, and Personality” by Milton Glaser, Push Pin Studios
    April 25 - “Norman Rockwell: Picturemaker” by Thomas S. Buechner author of the text for NORMAN ROCKWELL: ARTIST AND
    ILLUSTRATOR.

    GALLERY TALKS - ALL-AMERICAN: THE GROWTH OF A TRADITION on Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. and each talk repeated on Saturdays at 1:15 p.m. Admission is free.

    MARCH
    Wed. 22 “Crackerbarrel Realism: Norman Rockwell” by Steven Welte
    Sat. 25

    Wed. 29 “American Illustration: 1870-1970” by Lenore Sundberg
    Sat. Apr. 1

    APRIL
    Wed. 5 “Children’s Book Illustration” by Linda Sweet
    Sat. 8

    Wed. 12 “American Myths and Symbols” by Terry Shtob
    Sat. 15

    Wed. 19 “Norman Rockwell: The All-American Illustrator” by Nina Jensen
    Sat. 22

    Wed. 26 “Pictures After Words: Thoughts on American Illustration" by Steven Welte
    Sat. 29

    MAY
    Wed. 3 “Social Realism” by Linda Sweet
    Sat. 6

    Wed. 10 “Contemporary Illustration: Push Pin Studios” by Robin Brown

    FILMS - ROCKWELL'S AMERICA on Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
    Contribution $1.00; Members and Senior Citizens 50¢

    March 26 - TALK OF THE TOWN with Ronald Colman, Cary Grant and Jean Arthur
    April 2 - THANKS A MILLION with Dick Powell and Fred Allen
    April 9 - KNUTE ROCKNE with Pat O’Brien and Ronald Reagan
    April 16 - W.C. FIELDS PROGRAM (4 shorts)
    April 23 - GRANDMA’S BOY with Harold Lloyd plus selected shorts
    April 30 - IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert
    May 7 - HOPALONG CASSIDY RIDES AGAIN with William Boyd
    May 14 - IT’S A SMALL WORLD with Spencer Tracy and Wendy Barrie

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1972, 083-87.
    View Original
  • April 17, 1972 Fashion Theater Premieres With Multi-Media
    Production “Changing Fashions, 1800 to 1970"

    With a vivid, theatrical presentation of fashions dating back to the 18th century, the new Costume Galleries of The Brooklyn Museum will open to the public on April 26, at 10:00 A.M. More than seven years in the planning and preparation, the innovative installation was arranged by J. Stewart Johnson, curator of Decorative Arts, and Elizabeth Ann Coleman, associate curator of Costumes and Textiles. Architect Paul Heyer, who also designed the recently opened Jan Martense Schenck House gallery, served as designer for the new galleries which complete the decorative arts floor of the Museum.

    The opening collection of gowns on view against a background of gleaming black, illustrate the permanence of classic design in the world of fashion. The empire waistline, the exaggerated shoulder, ascending and descending hemlines regularly recur as does the bared back and revealing decolleté.

    Indicative of the vastness of the Museum’s collection are two large storerooms of costumes, chronologically arranged on two levels, both of which are partially visible to the viewer. New exhibitions will be mounted from among these outstanding fashions of the past and present, whose designers include Fortuny, Dior, Norell, Oscar de la Renta, Balmain, Worth, Poiret, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Maxwell and Trigère.

    The small, completely carpeted Fashion Theater, makes its debut with a dazzling multi-media presentation, “Changing Fashions, 1800 to 1970.” Costumed mannequins on a moving belt, gracefully posed with an evocative piece of decor, illustrate the ever-changing flow of fashion, while overhead, a multi-media slide presentation of the personalities, architecture, furniture, and outstanding social and historical events of the time show the context in which the clothing was originally worn.

    A white, cotton evening dress (ca. 1820), decorated with puffs of sheer mull, faggoting, and lace insertions, and accessorized with a green embroidered cashmere shawl and lemon-yellow gloves and slippers is in beguiling contrast to a sleek ‘30’s version done in eggshell silk crepe with an uneven printed feather hemline in shaded grays, embellished by pearls and long white kid gloves.

    A private preview for designers and the fashion press will be held at the Costume Galleries (4th floor) on Monday evening, April 24, from 6:00 to 8:30 P.M.

    * * * * * * * * * *
    Currently featured at The Brooklyn Museum is NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION which will run through May 14. More than 80 original paintings by America’s most popular illustrator and 123 works by the outstanding illustrators of the past 100 years are on view. Special hours for NORMAN ROCKWELL AND A CENTURY OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION only are: Monday & Tuesday from 1:00 P .M. to 9:00 P.M.; Wednesday - Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.; and Sunday from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1972, 096-097
    View Original