Norman Rockwell, ‘Norman Rockwell Visits a Ration Board ’, 1919,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Norman Rockwell, ‘Norman Rockwell Visits a Ration Board ’, 1919,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Norman Rockwell, ‘Norman Rockwell Visits a Ration Board ’, 1919,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Norman Rockwell, ‘Norman Rockwell Visits a Ration Board ’, 1919,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Norman Rockwell, ‘Norman Rockwell Visits a Ration Board ’, 1919,  M.S. Rau Antiques

Displaying Rockwell's celebrated style, this remarkable work is a well-executed preliminary study for his iconic illustration in the July 15, 1944, issue of the Saturday Evening Post. The scene is somewhat unique in this legendary American illustrator's oeuvre. Known more typically for his charming portrayals that characterized the humor in the everyday American experience, this large work expresses a more weighty commentary regarding the effect of World War II on the country and its citizens. In it, we see a man standing before the volunteer ration board, pleading his case and asking, presumably, for extra rations of essentials such as sugar or gasoline. The wartime economy was of primary concern to all, rich and poor, male and female, old and young. Rockwell understood its historical significance, and as in many of his best works, this painting dutifully captures the concerns of the entire nation.

Norman Rockwell led a very long and incredibly successful career as an artist. His first commission was painted when he was only 16 years old, and his irresistible paintings of American life made him the foremost American illustrator of the 20th century. Rockwell said himself, "Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed." For much of the 20th century, his poignant paintings became the visual identity of The Saturday Evening Post with 322 of his works featured on the cover, plus numerous others used for illustrations. Nearly all major magazines of the day called upon Rockwell for his outstanding compositions, including Literary Digest, Life, Country Gentleman, and Look. Rockwell's distinguished career earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, the highest honor bestowed upon an American civilian.

This study for Norman Rockwell Visits a Ration Board is mentioned in Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, Volume II, by Laurie Norton Moffatt, page 782.

Canvas: 20 1/4" high x 36 1/4" wide
Frame: 29 1/4" high x 45" wide

Signature: Signed "rough color sketch for my friend Bill Loos sincerely Norman Rockwell" (lower right)

This study for Norman Rockwell Visits a Ration Board is mentioned in Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, Volume II, by Laurie Norton Moffatt, page 782.

Exhibited:
Salute to Norman Rockwell, The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, October 7-31, 1976;The Allentown Art Museum, November 20 to January 2, 1977;Mississippi Museum of Art "Norman Rockwell: The Great American Storyteller," March 3 to May 15, 1988References:
Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, Volume I, 1986, L. Norton Moffatt
Who Was Who in American Art, 1985, P. Hastings Falk

About Norman Rockwell

Few artists are as closely tied to the American identity as Norman Rockwell—though the idealistic images of happy families, playful school children, and humble towns he created during his 47-year career at the Saturday Evening Post were nostalgic even in their day. “The view of life I communicate in my pictures excludes the sordid and ugly,” the artist said. “I paint life as I would like it to be.” To create these detailed slices of life, Rockwell created meticulously planned photographic studies. After leaving the Post in the 1960s, his paintings took a more political turn, and he spent the last decade of his life creating works that dealt with issues such as civil rights and the fight against poverty.

American, February 3, 1894 - November 8, 1978, New York, New York, based in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

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