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Delivering Two Busts by Norman Rockwell

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Delivering Two Busts by Norman Rockwell

- Item No.

In this painting, Rockwell epitomizes the Americana charm of his works

Key Features

  • The oil on canvas by American painter Norman Rockwell is entitled Delivering Two Busts
  • The work was featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on April 18, 1931
  • Rockwell created over 300 cover illustrations for the Post, spanning seven decades
  • This iconic work epitomizes the Americana charm and historical significance of Rockwell's oeuvre
  • Undeniably, Rockwell was one of the most important and popular American artists of the past century
  • Canvas: 34" high x 27 1/2" wide; Frame: 41 1/4 high x 34 1/4 wide

Item Details

  • Width:
    C: 27 1/2; F: 34 1/4 Inches
  • Height:
    C: 34; F: 41 1/4 Inches
  • Period:
    20th Century
  • Origin:
    America
  • Subject:
    Figurative
  • Artist:
    Rockwell, Norman
Norman Rockwell
1894-1978  American 

Delivering Two Busts
Saturday Evening Post 
cover, April 18, 1931

Signed "Norman Rockwell" (center right) 
Oil on canvas 

Delivering Two Busts is included in Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, Volume 1, by Laurie Norton Moffatt, page 121. 

For over seven decades, Norman Rockwell captured the attention of millions of Americans with his 322 Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations. Each week, Americans brought his art into the intimate space of their homes, engraining Rockwell's images into the cultural narrative of the country. This iconic oil on canvas epitomizes the Americana charm and historical significance of Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post works, which have come to exemplify the values and patriotic consciousness of their age.

When Rockwell created this cover illustration, entitled Delivering Two Busts, in 1931, American's were two years into the Great Depression, with no respite in sight. At a time when jobs were scarce and paychecks were small, many Americans took any job that came their way. This illustration suggests a deliveryman down on his luck, with his worn out, uncoordinated uniform, skewed hat, and scuffed shoes all contributing to his overall discouraged countenance. The newspaper, haphazardly tossed on the ground at his feet, implies an unsuccessful job search, furthered by his slouched posture as he holds two busts for delivery.

The busts themselves are wonderful portraits, delicately rendered to portray the Venus de Milo on the left, and Apollo on the right. In part it is the genius juxtaposition of these two figures of ideal classical beauty to the rather earnest but plain face of the deliveryman that is the focus of Rockwell's illustration. This is truly a comparison of the ideal to the real, perhaps indicating the hopes of the people versus the reality of the nation.

Rockwell tapped into the nostalgia of the American people and his ability to create visual stories that expressed the desires of a nation helped to clarify and, in a sense, create that nation's vision. While history was in the making all around him, Rockwell chose to fill his canvases with the small details and nuances of ordinary people in everyday life. Taken together, his many paintings capture the essence of the American spirit. "I paint life as I would like it to be," Rockwell once said. Mythical, idealistic, and innocent, his paintings evoke a longing for a time and place that existed in his rich imagination and in the hopes and aspirations of the nation.

Canvas: 34" high x 27 1/2" wide
Frame: 41 1/4" high x 34 1/4" wide

Artists Museums:
National Museum of American Illustration, Newport, Rhode Island
National Portrait Gallery (portrait of President Richard Nixon), Washington, D.C.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
The Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts


References:
Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People, 1999, M. Hart Hennessey and A. Knutson
Who Was Who in American Art, 1985, P. Hastings Falk
Painting by William Bouguereau

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