Norman Rockwell and illustration

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Norman Rockwell and illustration

From Gabriela Dellosso

Published before 2005


Gabriela Dellosso responds to Jerry Saltz's review ("Middle Americana") of the "Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People" show, which ran March 2002 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum:

Mr. Saltz engages in what I believe is destructive criticism. To state that Rockwell's paintings are dead, mechanical, washed out and have little space and limited color and no surface is a downright lie. The opposite is true, upon studying many of Rockwells paintings you would be suprised [by] the brilliant use of surface texture and variation. To say that his paintings were not meant to be seen in person is absurd. These textural effects did not reproduce in print, these subleties were meant to be seen in person. I have read much about Rockwell and I know he cared about making his pictures the best they could be, as a matter a fact, early on in his career he attached a sign to his easel that said "100%", which reminded him of not giving anything less than one hundred percent of himself to his paintings. He went beyond the call of duty in creating his paintings. So once again Mr. Saltz is completely wrong, the effects in Rockwell's paintings were never meant for reproduction, they were meant to be seen in PERSON. Often when artists see Rockwell's paintings in person for the first time they will tell you they were suprised [by] the subleties and variations in surface texture. I often hear, "You could not tell from reproductions how good a painter he really was." Rockwell was put down in his lifetime by many people like Jerry Saltz, it is no wonder that he had a complex. He painted in a time when the Modernist era was taking root, he was like a lone fish swimming upstream against the current. Aren't we all glad he was not drowned out by intellectual rhetoric displayed by people like Jerry Saltz.

If Jerry Saltz believes that Rockwells world is made of cardboard, then his heart is made of stone. Rockwell is resurfacing and I am glad.

Talk to you soon
Gabriela Dellosso