At the outset of his career, Norman Rockwell was not the most
likely candidate for long-term celebrity; he was just one of many
skillful illustrators working within the conventions of the day.
But there was something tenacious about his vision, and something
uncanny about his access to the wellsprings of public taste.
Although technically he was an academic painter, he had the eye of
a photographer and, as he became a mature artist, he used this eye
to give us a picture of America that was familiar-astonishingly
so-and at the same time unique.
It seems familiar because it was everyone''s dream of America; and
it was unique because only Rockwell managed to bring it to life
with such authority. This was, perhaps, an America that never
existed, but it was an America the public wanted to exist. And
Rockwell put it together from elements that were there for everyone
Rockwell helped preserve American myths, but, more than that, he
recreated them and made them palatable for new generations. His
function was to reassure people, to remind them of old values in
times of rapid change.