|View from the current position of Rockwell's studio.|
Rockwell prepared for a museum for his illustrations before his death. He even arranged to have his studio moved (in two pieces) from the lot next to his house down to the spot chosen for the future museum. The museum's administrative offices are located in the original dwelling on the property, the old Linwood House, a Berkshire "cottage" built in 1859 that looks like a Victorian mansion in light-colored stone with hunter-green shutters and a gray roof. That building is not open to the public. The museum built a new, two-story building set into a hillside for the rotating collection of paintings on the upper floor. On the lower floor you can watch a short film about Rockwell and see all 322 Saturday Evening Post covers he painted over 47 years.
|That's Norman in the bottom row,|
2nd and 3rd from the right.
One of Rockwell's most beloved pieces is his "Golden Rule" painting, which seems to sum up his worldview. Apparently he looked for models among the tourists who came through town in the summer, since Stockbridge was (and largely still is) mono-racial. I'd like to think he was hampered only by the material he had to work with and not by his ideas, that this is the world he wanted to illustrate but couldn't find.
Erik Erikson reputedly once told Rockwell during therapy that he painted the happiness he wasn't living, and a controversial new biography using his medical records reveals that Rockwell was psychologically troubled and even suggests he may have been a repressed homosexual. Does that make his paintings more or less optimistic? At any rate, they are extraordinarily popular. (In fact, one may have just been stolen from a warehouse in New York.) Maybe his most iconic images were never attainable. They certainly aren't at the prices expected at Sotheby's auction in December, when "Saying Grace" might command $24 million dollars.