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January Issue 2007

Greenville Museum of Art in Greenville, NC, Features Exhibit of Works by Norman Rockwell

The Greenville Museum of Art in Greenville, NC, will present the exhibition, Norman Rockwell's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, on view through Feb. 25, 2007. The exhibit has been organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.

Rockwell is best remembered as a gifted storyteller and masterful painter of everyday American life, depicted with affection, humor and dignity. Born in 1894 in New York, Rockwell studied at the Art Student League, the most progressive American Art School of the time. Rockwell later studied with renowned teachers George Bridgman and Thomas Fogerty.

Rockwell became art editor of Boy's Life Magazine at age nineteen and by age twenty-two had his work published on the first of many covers of the Saturday Evening Post, an artist-client relationship that alone would last for forty-seven years.

In 1935, George Macy, the publisher of the Heritage Press and Limited Editions Club books, personally asked Rockwell to illustrate Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Rockwell went to Hannibal, MO, Mark Twain's boyhood town, to get authentic details. Twain's descriptions of the characters laid the groundwork for the illustrator's assignment. The Heritage Press of New York first published the volumes in 1936. Each book contains eight color plates. The volumes also included small sketches by Rockwell that are lost today. Fifteen of the original paintings reside in the Mark Twain Home and Museum in Hannibal.

The rare, vintage collotypes and lithographs (forms of printmaking) of those original paintings features in this exhibition are the artist's proofs from Rockwell's personal collection, proofed and signed by the artist. The print of Tom Sawyer Whitewashing the Fence was separated from the collection in the early 1940's while traveling on exhibit, hence the sepia toned version we see in its place. The original painting was chosen for the 1972 United States Postal Commemorative Stamp issue and is now in the collection of the William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum in Maine.

Rockwell established a trust to preserve his legacy in 1973, forming the core of the Norman Rockwell Museum's permanent collection, including the artist's Stockbridge, MA, studio and over four thousand artworks. In 1977, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in honor of his work. Rockwell passed away at home in 1978.

The Museum is offering several related programs in conjunction with this exhibition. Check for a complete list of events for further info on dates and times.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 252/758-1946 or visit (www.gmoa.org).


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