1894-1978 | American
Signed “Norman Rockwell” (lower right)
Faintly inscribed "To my good friend Joe Csatari / from… idea and / Joe Csatari's sketch / Cordially / Norman Rockwell" (lower right)
Oil on artist's panel
"Rockwell painted the American dream - better than anyone."
Displaying the artist’s celebrated style, this remarkable work is a well-executed preliminary study for Rockwell's 1971 Boy Scouts of America poster. The work represents the culmination of over 60 years of illustrations that the legendary American painter composed for the organization during his career. His idyllic vision of American life made him the ideal visual spokesman for the Boy Scouts. This exceptional composition represents the inclusive spirit and lasting values of the youth organization, perfectly rendered with a distinctive Rockwellian charm.
When he walked into the offices of Boy's Life, the monthly magazine of the Scouts, in 1912, Norman Rockwell was just an 18-year-old art student. Nevertheless, he left with his first of many commissions from the popular publication, including paintings for the annual Scout calendar published by Brown & Bigelow. His connection with the Scouts lasted for 64 years, making it the longest professional association of his celebrated career.
For this 1971 commission, Rockwell successfully evokes the popular Boy Scout slogan "America's manpower begins with BOYPOWER," which was developed as part of a 1968 campaign to increase membership. The piece is dedicated to the American illustrator Joseph Csatari, then-art director of the Brown & Bigelow Scout calendar. Csatari eventually succeeded Rockwell as the "official artist" of the Boy Scouts of America in 1977, and the dedication is a testament to the illustrator's mentor-mentee relationship.
In addition to his work for the Boy Scouts, Rockwell led a very long and incredibly successful career as an artist and illustrator for numerous companies and publications. For much of the 20th century, his poignant paintings became the visual identity of the Saturday Evening Post, with 322 of his works featured on the cover, plus numerous others used for illustrations inside. Nearly all major magazines of the day called upon Rockwell for his outstanding compositions, including Literary Digest, Life, Country Gentleman, and Look. Rockwell's distinguished career earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, the highest honor bestowed upon an American civilian.
Panel: 29 1/2" high x 28 1/2" wide
Frame: 38" high x 36 1/2" wide
This important work is referenced in:
Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, Volume I, Norman Rockwell Museum, 1986, by L. Norton Moffatt, pp. 290-291, no. A93a (illustrated)