"Welcome to Rockwell Land," writes Deborah Solomon in the introduction to this spirited and authoritative biography of the painter who provided 20th-century America with a defining image of itself. As the star illustrator of The Saturday Evening Post for nearly half a century, Norman Rockwell mingled fact and fiction in paintings that reflected the we-the-people, communitarian ideals of American democracy. Freckled Boy Scouts and their mutts, sprightly grandmothers, a young man standing up to speak at a town hall meeting, a little black girl named Ruby Bridges walking into an all-white school - here was an America whose citizens seemed to believe in equality and gladness for all.
Who was this man who served as our unofficial "artist in chief" and bolstered our country's national identity? Behind the folksy, pipe-smoking facade lay a surprisingly complex figure - a lonely painter who suffered from depression and was consumed by a sense of inadequacy. He wound up in treatment with the celebrated psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. In fact, Rockwell moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, so that he and his wife could be near Austen Riggs, a leading psychiatric hospital.
"What's interesting is how Rockwell's personal desire for inclusion and normalcy spoke to the national desire for inclusion and normalcy," writes Solomon. "His work mirrors his own temperament - his sense of humor, his fear of depths - and struck Americans as a truer version of themselves than the sallow, solemn, hard-bitten Puritans they knew from 18th-century portraits."
©2013 Deborah Solomon (P)2013 Recorded Books
Though I did enjoy the book, I did feel that the author's narrative of Rockwell being a repressed homosexual was very heavy handed. At many points throughout the novel I felt the Deborah Solomon would lead us down a path of accusations but would always end with a form of "I'm not sayin', but I'm just sayin'...".
Take away that aspect of the book and I feel it was a solid read.
more research on the subject.
reported the facts not her opinions!!!
the narrator was fine.
i would like a refund if i could ...very Dissapointed.
The part that sealed it for me was when she commented on other artist models being left out and neglected by other Artist and how the models felt about it. She then brings up Picasso and Dora Mar! Big mistake because I am a big Picasso fan and have read everything i could get my hands on about Picasso. Every Picasso fan knows that they had a turbulent love affair and she tries to compare this to Norman Rockwell and his boy models. Outrages!!! i didn't even listen to the complete book she i found this inaccuracy...
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