(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – In its 20th year in its current location, the Norman Rockwell Museum will present four major new exhibitions, including a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Walt Disney’s first feature-length animation film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, celebrating its 75th anniversary; four new installments in the Distinguished Illustrator Series featuring New Yorker drawings, picture book art, iconic advertising images, and other works by some of America’s most exciting contemporary illustration artists; a career retrospective of the “impermanent art” of Jarvis Rockwell; and fresh looks at classic works by Norman Rockwell.
This summer’s feature exhibition, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic (June 8- October 27, 2013), offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney’s first feature-length animated film. Released in 1937 and recently celebrating its 75th anniversary, the film is beloved by viewers of all ages. The exhibition features more than 200 works of art including conceptual drawings, early character studies, detailed story sketches, rare watercolor backgrounds, and animation drawings. Walt Disney maintained a friendly relationship with Norman Rockwell through the years, and the exhibition also will include examples of the correspondence between the two artists, each of whom was a force in 20th century visual and popular culture.
Two generations of artists named Rockwell will be celebrated with overlapping exhibitions beginning July 13 and running through October. Norman Rockwell: Happily Ever After celebrates Rockwell’s appreciative view of humanity, a hallmark of his work. Above all, he loved to paint pictures that offered a mostly-positive view of people and their interactions with one another, whether as sweethearts, friends, or family. Classic original “Saturday Evening Post” covers like “She’s My Baby” (1927), “Christmas Homecoming” (1948), “Marriage License” (1955), and others will be on view.
At the same time, Rockwell’s son, Jarvis Rockwell, will be featured in his own show, Maya and Beyond: The Art of Jarvis Rockwell. Jarvis Rockwell’s Hindu-inspired pyramids assembled with hundreds of toy figurines, and tableau boxes will be on view in this first retrospective of the artist’s work, exploring Rockwell’s artistic journey and the ideas and questions that continue to drive his art. The exhibition also features a documentary film on the artist created by filmmaker Rachel Victor.
The Distinguished Illustrator series will present works by Hungarian-born artist Istvan Banyai, whose striking imagery has appeared in the New Yorker, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and other publications, March 9 through May 5. A show featuring works by illustrator, animator, children’s book author, graphic novelist, and editorial cartoonist R.O. Blechman runs from May 11 through June 30.
Later in the year, Wendell Minor’s America, featuring work by premier historical picture book illustrator Wendell Minor, runs from November 9, 2013, through May 26, 2014.
In addition to these and other exhibitions presented in Stockbridge, many exhibitions conceived and organized by Norman Rockwell Museum will be seen this year by an estimated half a million people nationwide, thanks to a thriving traveling exhibitions program.
“Twenty years after opening the doors of our ‘new’ home, Norman Rockwell Museum is bursting at the seams,” says Laurie Norton Moffatt, director/CEO of Norman Rockwell Museum. “From our earliest incarnation as a small house museum in downtown Stockbridge, we’ve responded to public demand for Norman Rockwell’s art, becoming an internationally recognized cultural destination and a dynamic center for illustration collection, exhibition, and study. I couldn’t be prouder of the museum’s role in shaping contemporary understanding and appreciation of illustration art. Rockwell was the acknowledged master of illustration during his lifetime, and even decades after his death, continues to exert unmatched influence in this vibrant and ever-changing field.”
“This is a landmark year for us,” agrees Thomas L. Pulling, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Through generous support and sound fiscal management, we’re on solid financial footing. Having retired the museum’s 20-year mortgage bond, we can now turn our attention to growing an endowment to maintain our historic campus and 20-year-old building, as well as support our programming. We are committed to sharing Rockwell with new generations, and are finding innovative ways to do this.”
Norman Rockwell Museum is home to the world’s largest and most significant collection of original works by Norman Rockwell. It continues to receive gifts of Rockwell art and archival materials, and to curate new exhibitions exploring his life and work. Many of these exhibitions have been seen around the nation and the world.
ProjectNORMAN, the Museum’s ongoing effort to digitize its collections, has brought a critical mass of its holdings to global audiences online. The Museum’s database and archives are likewise informing the work of scholars, including art critic Deborah Solomon, whose Rockwell biography is slated for release this spring.
The Museum also plays a pivotal role in preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting American illustration art. Since 1993, the Museum has exhibited the work of more than 500 illustrators. Its permanent collection now holds some 2,900 works by contemporary and past masters of illustration, spanning a century and a half of published imagery. Highlights include works by Golden Age masters Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, Charles Dana Gibson, Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, and J.C. Leyendecker, as well as significant mid-century and contemporary works, including the largest holdings of William Steig (donated by his wife, Jeanne Steig) and a future gift of works by David Macaulay.
The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies is developing into a rich source for scholarship, exhibition, and connection in the illustration field. In 2013, four exhibitions in the Center’s “Distinguished Illustrator” Series (see exhibitions below) will explore the work of four contemporary American illustrators. In addition, the Center’s expanded lecture series will present talks by this year’s four Rockwell Center fellows. In September, the Center will announce its 2013 Artist Laureate.
Norman Rockwell Museum’s Robert A. M. Stern-designed building and 36-acre campus continue to draw visitors, artists, students, and scholars from around the world. More than 5.5 million people have visited the Museum since its inception. In addition, an estimated 15 million people have experienced its exhibitions at venues worldwide. Beginning in 1999, over 130 Norman Rockwell Museum exhibitions have been to 38 states, France, Canada, and Japan – and several more will appear in at least nine venues in 2013; see details below. The Museum’s outreach efforts with the U.S. State Department, also have brought Rockwell’s art to diverse international audiences as an act of goodwill and cultural exchange.
“Add to that the many thousands of people each year who experience our collections virtually through the Google Art Project, ProjectNORMAN database, website, and social media sites,” says Norton Moffatt, “and you have some idea of the scope and influence we’ve achieved on behalf of Norman Rockwell and the field of illustration art.”
2013 EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic
June 8 through October 27
This summer’s feature exhibition offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Walt Disney’s first feature-length animated film. Released in 1937 and recently celebrating its 75th anniversary, the film is beloved by viewers of all ages. The exhibition features more than 200 works of art including conceptual drawings, early character studies, detailed story sketches, rare watercolor backgrounds, and animation drawings. Walt Disney maintained a friendly relationship with Norman Rockwell through the years, and the exhibition also will include examples of the correspondence between the two artists, each of whom was a force in 20th century visual and popular culture. Norman Rockwell Museum is the only East Coast venue for this exhibition, which was organized by the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, CA, and draws on rarely seen materials from the Disney archives. Animation workshops and a Thursday night lecture series are planned, among other related programming.
Snow White Opening gala features Berkshire treasure Marge Champion, dance model for the animated film, on June 8. Famed dancer Marge Champion performed the movements that Disney animators used to bring Snow White to graceful life on screen. Champion, who has long-standing Berkshire ties through her involvement with Jacob’s Pillow, will serve as Honorary Co-Chair with Diane Disney Miller, for the June 8 opening gala — An Enchanting Evening. Disney Miller is the daughter of Walt Disney and founder of the Walt Disney Family Museum; she is also a member of Norman Rockwell Museum’s National Council.
Norman Rockwell: Happily Ever After
July 13 through October 14
Norman Rockwell’s appreciative view of humanity was a hallmark of his work. Above all, he loved to paint pictures that offered a mostly-positive view of people and their interactions with one another, whether as sweethearts, friends, or family. In 1943, a “Time” reporter said, “He constantly achieves that compromise between a love of realism and the tendency to idealize, which is one of the most deeply ingrained characteristics of the American people.” This special exhibition explores Rockwell’s vision for a kinder, gentler world, as evidenced in the relationship-inspired subjects that emerged in his art. Classic original “Saturday Evening Post” covers like “She’s My Baby” (1927), “Christmas Homecoming” (1948), “Marriage License” (1955), and others will be on view.
Maya and Beyond: The Art of Jarvis Rockwell
July 13 through October 20
Fascinated by material culture and what the objects of mass production have to say about our lives, hopes, and longings, Jarvis Rockwell creates artworks that are at once tangible and transient, reflecting the impermanence of all things. Imbued with a sense of mystery and spiritual curiosity, his sensory structure drawings, Hindu-inspired pyramids assembled with hundreds of toy figurines, and tableau boxes will be on view in this first retrospective of the artist’s work. Jarvis Rockwell, the son of Norman Rockwell, is widely recognized as a visionary image-maker. This retrospective exhibition explores Rockwell’s artistic journey and the ideas and questions that continue to drive his art. The exhibition also features a documentary film on the artist created by filmmaker Rachel Victor.
“Distinguished Illustrator” Series Exhibitions
These exhibitions are presented in collaboration with the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies. Related talks and programs will accompany each show.
Istvan Banyai: Stranger in a Strange Land
March 9 through May 5
Hungarian-born artist Istvan Banyai has been creating persuasive, elegant artworks for more than 30 years. His striking imagery has appeared in the New Yorker, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and other publications, and has been featured by Absolut Vodka, Nickelodeon, MTV Europe, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Penguin Putnam/Viking, among many others. This exhibition explores his influential visual commentary and approach to image-making.
R.O. Blechman: The Inquiring Line
May 11 through June 30
A celebrated illustrator, animator, children’s book author, graphic novelist, and editorial cartoonist, R.O. Blechman is perhaps best known for his memorable advertisements for Alka-Seltzer and Capezio, among others, and witty illustrations for the New Yorker and the Huffington Post. His imagery for magazines, illustrated books, advertisements, and animations will be on view.
Wendell Minor’s America
November 9, 2013 through May 26, 2014
A journey through the art of Wendell Minor, a premier historical picture book illustrator. Original artworks and artifacts for cherished books illustrated by Minor, including Reaching for the Moon and ‘Look to the Stars’ by Buzz Aldrin, Sitting Bull Remembers by Ann Turner, and Abraham Lincoln Comes Home by Robert Burleigh, among many others, will be on display.
Dancing Princesses: The Picture Book Art of Ruth Sanderson
November 23, 2013 through February 23, 2014
This special holiday installation will explore the process and inspirations behind Ruth Sanderson’s children’s book, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, complete with original art (a recent gift to the museum by the artist), reference materials, and the costumes Sanderson personally designed as models for her images. A renowned fantasy artist and illustrator of children’s literature, Sanderson has created imagery for more than 75 picture books.
Norman Rockwell Museum holds the largest and most significant collection of art and archival materials relating to the life and work of Norman Rockwell. The Museum also preserves, interprets, and exhibits a growing collection of original illustration art by noted American illustrators, from historical to contemporary. The Norman Rockwell Museum Art Collection and Norman Rockwell Archive inspire a vibrant year-round exhibition program, national traveling exhibitions, and arts and humanities programs that engage diverse audiences. The Museum’s collections, which are made accessible worldwide, are a comprehensive resource relating to Norman Rockwell and the art of illustration, the role of published imagery in society, and the American 20th century.
Since its inception, Norman Rockwell Museum has explored the impact of illustrated images and their role in shaping and reflecting our world through changing exhibitions, publications, and programs. Dedication to a deepened understanding of the art of illustration has led to the formation of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies. The first of its kind in the nation, this research institute supports sustained scholarship and establishes the Norman Rockwell Museum’s leadership in the vanguard of preservation and interpretation relating to this important aspect of American visual culture.
Norman Rockwell Museum is located on 36 park-like acres in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Rockwell’s hometown for the last 25 years of his life. The Museum is open year-round; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. From May through October, hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; from November through April, hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Rockwell’s studio is open May through October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum admission is $16, $14.50 for seniors, $10 for students, $5 for kids, and teens 6 to 18, and free for Museum member, active military personnel, and children 5 and under. Visit the Museum online at Norman Rockwell Museum.