American Mirror

The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (19.87 hours)
Product Number: Z07302
Released: Nov 05, 2013
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781470388805
Narrator/s: Andrea Gallo
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Description

Welcome to Rockwell Land," writes Deborah Solomon in the introduction to this spirited and authoritative biography of the painter who provided twentieth-century America with a defining image of itself. As the star illustrator of The Saturday Evening Post for nearly half a century, Norman Rockwell mingled fact and fiction in paintings that reflected the we-the-people, communitarian ideals of American democracy. Freckled Boy Scouts and their mutts, sprightly grandmothers, a young man standing up to speak at a town hall meeting, a little black girl named Ruby Bridges walking into an all-white school-- here was an America whose citizens seemed to believe in equality and gladness for all. Who was this man who served as our unofficial " artist in chief" and bolstered our country' s national identity? Behind the folksy, pipe-smoking facade lay a surprisingly complex figure-- a lonely painter who suffered from depression and was consumed by a sense of inadequacy. He wound up in treatment with the celebrated psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. In fact, Rockwell moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts so that he and his wife could be near Austen Riggs, a leading psychiatric hospital. " What' s interesting is how Rockwell' s personal desire for inclusion and normalcy spoke to the national desire for inclusion and normalcy," writes Solomon. " His work mirrors his own temperament-- his sense of humor, his fear of depths-- and struck Americans as a truer version of themselves than the sallow, solemn, hard-bitten Puritans they knew from eighteenth-century portraits." Deborah Solomon, a biographer and art critic, draws on a wealth of unpublished letters and documents to explore the relationship between Rockwell' s despairing personality and his genius for reflecting America' s brightest hopes. " The thrill of his work," she writes, " is that he was able to use a commercial form [that of magazine illustration] to thrash out his private obsessions." In American Mirror, Solomon trains her perceptive eye not only on Rockwell and his art but on the development of visual journalism as it evolved from illustration in the 1920s to photography in the 1930s to television in the 1950s. She offers vivid cameos of the many famous Americans whom Rockwell counted as friends, including President Dwight Eisenhower, the folk artist Grandma Moses, the rock musician Al Kooper, and the generation of now-forgotten painters who ushered in the Golden Age of illustration, especially J. C. Leyendecker, the reclusive legend who created the Arrow Collar Man. Although derided by critics in his lifetime as a mere illustrator whose work could not compete with that of the Abstract Expressionists and other modern art movements, Rockwell has since attracted a passionate following in the art world. His faith in the power of storytelling puts his work in sync with the current art scene. American Mirror brilliantly explains why he deserves to be remembered as an American master of the first rank.

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American Mirror
Product Number: BX00026919
Product Number:C02854
Product Number:Z07302

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All formats/editions

CD
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Author(s): Deborah Solomon
Narrator(s): Andrea Gallo
Product Number C02854
Released: Jan 17, 2014
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781470388799
MP3 CD
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Author(s): Deborah Solomon
Narrator(s): Andrea Gallo
Product Number MP1131
Released: Feb 20, 2014
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781490603360
eBook
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Author(s): Deborah Solomon
Product Number EB00557889
Released: Sep 11, 2014
Business Term: 52 Circ / 730 Day
ISBN: #9780374711047

Professional reviews

"Art critic Deborah Solomon provides an insightful examination of Norman RockwellÕs place in American art and culture. Andrea Gallo narrates with wry humor and gives Rockwell's own anecdotes especially skillful renditions. Reflecting Solomon's anecdotal style, she illuminates the humor of the self-deprecating artist. In clear, breezy voice, Gallo presents discussions of RockwellÕs SATURDAY EVENING POST classic images, including FOUR FREEDOMS, SAYING GRACE, and GIRL IN MIRROR. The authorÕs admiration for the artist comes through to listeners. J.A.S. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine"

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