Norman Rockwell and illustration

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Norman Rockwell and illustration

From Travis Louie

Published before 2005


I read that article and am curious what America this Saltz fella is referring to. Norman Rockwell lived and painted a long time. I don't doubt that he may have come across some of those idyllic scenes that he portrayed in those wonderful paintings. This Saltz, what does he really know anyway? What are his credentials? Did he go to art school? He sounds to me like so many whiny art critics who have never really experienced paintings in a way that didn't involve some kind of negativity, "angst", or self-important nothingness. Who the Hell trains someone to look at art that way! And what's this crap about "illustration" used as a some kind of negative label for paintings?!?! I'm tired of it. One of the aspects that I find important about art is its ability to communicate ideas and feelings. What a great communicator Mr. Rockwell was! Because his paintings express a kind of appreciation for simpler times and a more regional aspect of American life that more or less no longer exists, how does that make him less of a painter than some of these art buffoons that paint so many paintings that require paragraphs of explanation to go along with them? Part of the charm of his artworks is that you can get a real sense of the time period his work was done in (much the way you would from paintings done by some of the old masters). And this man's comments on the technical aspects of his paintings are ridiculous!!! He obviously knows nothing about painting. His shorthand critique of the painthandling implies to me that he is either blind or never really looked at these paintings up close. You can look at anyone's paintings in print form and not see texture. Color? Rockwell knew how to handle color!!! What a bitter phony this Saltz fellow must be! This art critic should stick to writing about things he possesses some geniune knowledge of. I'll say it again, he doesn't appear to have any painting knowledge. Rockwell painted a lot of paintings in his lifetime; not all of them were great, . . . but some of them are masterpieces!