Guptill, Arthur. Norman Rockwell: Illustrator. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1946. First edition signed by Rockwell. Original dust jacket and presented in custom clamshell.
This first edition of Arthur Guptill’s Norman Rockwell: Illustrator is signed by Norman Rockwell on the first end page. A Preface by Dorothy Canfield Fisher and a biographical introduction by Jack Alexander are included in the front of the book. There are 515 reproduction illustrations throughout and 50 of them are in full color. Published in 1946, it features the original dust jacket and boards. The book is housed in a custom archival clamshell.
The author of Norman Rockwell: Illustrator was well-known in his own right. Arthur Guptill co-founded Watson-Guptill Publications and co-edited the American Artist magazine. He was the founder and director of Amatur Art Association of America and wrote instructional art books. Written while Rockwell lived in Arlington,VT, this book describes the artist’s studio, how he worked, the process he followed while painting, and his overall work as a magazine illustrator and advertiser. The text is instructional and informational yet the writing has a very personal touch and obvious admiration of the man who made a lasting impact on American illustration.
Norman Rockwell is one of the most famous American artists to date. Throughout his career he was an author, painter, and illustrator known for reflecting American small town culture. His most famous works included covers for the Saturday Evening Post magazine totaling 322 illustrations for the publisher. Rockwell knew success early when he received his first commission for Christmas cards at the age of 15 and became the art director for Boy’s Life magazine while still in his teens. It wasn’t until 1916 when the twenty-two year old artist painted his first work for the famed Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell continued to produce everyday life works for that magazine for 47 years. Rockwell said, “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.” Throughout most of his career, the artist strove to show the world its moments of perfection in a time of economic depravity, war, and civil unrest. During WWII, Rockwell painted four works titled the “Four Freedoms.” they were toured across the U.S. raising more than $130,000 for the war effort and gained exceptional popularity. In the last 10 years of his life, Rockwell left the Saturday Evening Post for another magazine, Look. While illustrating for Look, Rockwell’s work focused more on social issues such as the Vietnam war, poverty, and race. In 1977, one year before his death, Norman Rockwell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom honoring him and his works which have “become part of the beloved American tradition.” Rockwell’s nearly 60 year career illustrated both the “heartwarming and heart-wrenching sides of American life in the 20th century.”
Overall very good condition. The signature on the first end page is written in green ink, clear, and legible. The original red cloth boards are faded along the spine and edges from age; binding is tight with. The book’s 208 pages are clean and unmarked. The original dark green dust jacket features a photo of Rockwell taken by John Leroy Johnson on the front and a list of art books by the publisher on the back. The dust jacket has been conserved, repairing loss, abrasions, and creases, now preserved in mylar. Three of the four corners have been clipped, but the original $10 price on the first corner remains.
The book and dust jacket are housed in a quarter leather green and yellow archival clamshell. The spine is decorated with gold embossing, blind embossing, and black stamps. The clamshell’s front cover features a photograph of Rockwell in his studio.
Dimensions: 13.25” H x 10.25” W x 1.75” D (with clamshell)