National Museum of American Illustration Shows Norman Rockwell’s America

artwork: Norman Rockwell - "The Bid", 1948 - Oil on canvas - Saturday Evening Post cover, May 15, 1948. - © 2011 National Museum of American Illustration, Newport, RI, where it is on view in "Norman Rockwell’s America" from May 28th through September 4th.

Newport, Rhode Island.- After a record-breaking exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery, England’s oldest art museum renowned for their Old Master collection, on the occasion of their 200th anniversary, “Norman Rockwell’s America” returns to the National Museum of American Illustration (NMAI) for Newport’s 2011 Summer Season, opening on May 28th and running through September 4th. The exhibition includes over 50 original works by Rockwell and gives viewers the unique opportunity to view his oeuvre alongside his mentors and peers from the Golden Age of American Illustration.

Norman Rockwell was America’s best-known and most beloved illustrator for over six decades of the 20th century. This exhibition allows viewers to see Rockwell’s accomplished technique and craftsmanship while asserting his position as a great American artist/illustrator. He was a storyteller, a chronicler painting scenes that were folksy, often humorous and topical, and always compelling in their messages. These iconic images continue to resonate and find new audiences in the 21st century. Also on display as part of the NMAI’s American Imagist Collection are works by Rockwell’s mentors, contemporaries, and competitors, including: Steven Dohanos, John Falter, JC Leyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, Howard Pyle, NC Wyeth, and many others.

Visitors are able to view a particular illustrator/artist’s works in the context of his contemporaries, a unique experience that is not available elsewhere on such a scale. Judy Goffman Cutler, curator of the exhibition remarked: “Rockwell’s images often served as a mirror of American life, reflecting not who we really were, so much as what we thought and felt – and what we subconsciously endeavored to become.” Ms. Cutler is considered the “Doyenne of American Illustration,” and a leading Rockwell expert; she is widely recognized for promoting his reputation internationally with her Rockwell exhibitions travelling throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

artwork: Installation view of "Norman Rockwell: American Imagist" exhibition hanging beneath Vernon Court’s Tiffany murals © 2011 National Museum of American Illustration, on view from May 28th through September 4th.

Vernon Court, an adaptation of an early 18th century French chateau, was designed and built in 1898 for Mrs. Richard van Nest Gambrill of Peapack, New Jersey. Occupying one full block on historic Bellevue Avenue, Vernon Court was widely heralded as the most spectacular mansion of its kind in America. Author Barr Ferree wrote in American Estates and Gardens (1904) that Vernon Court was “one of the truly greatest estates in America… it has startling beauty and daring originality giving it high rank among the notable houses of America”. It was compared with the White House, the Biltmore, The Breakers, and several other mansions as one of the ten greatest mansions in America. Vernon Court stands today as an incredible architectural monument and clearly remains one of the most significant structures in the nation. The late J. Carter Brown, Director Emeritus, National Gallery of Art in Washington remarked in a 1999 letter to our founders, “Vernon Court has to be one of the very most beautiful in Newport, and its state of conservation should be a role model for everyone in the preservation field.” The National Museum of American Illustration (NMAI) is a nonprofit independent, educational, and aesthetic organization located in Vernon Court. It is the first national museum devoted exclusively to illustration art, images created to be reproduced in books, periodicals, art prints, and advertisements. The NMAI’s American Imagist Collection features paintings by Norman Rockwell, JC Leyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, NC Wyeth, and over 180 others – it is considered a national treasure of art and architecture. Visit the museum’s website at …