Last updated: March 17. 2013 2:56AM - 507 Views
By Sara Pokorny, Weekender Staff Writer

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Norman Rockwell.

As soon as those words were read, there were probably several images that popped into your head: the backside of a tattoo artist working on a seated client, Santa atop a ladder marking off where the good boys and girls live, and, most famously, a little boy seated next to a cop at a diner, seemingly fresh on his start as a runaway.

Whatever the image is, it‚??s sure to evoke a sense of distinct artistic style as well as warm feelings, feelings of home and familiarity ‚?? exactly what Rockwell wanted of the observer.

‚??The stories being told in his paintings are ones that we could all relate to, whether or not we‚??ve had the experience,‚?Ě Thomas Daly, Rockwell expert and curator of education at the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., said.

There‚??s a chance to get familiar with such works and seek out those stories through the end of February at Misericordia University‚??s Pauly Friedman Art Gallery in Dallas, where 323 Saturday Evening Post covers done by Rockwell will be on display. Daly will be on hand for lectures about Rockwell‚??s work on Jan. 24.

Rockwell began illustrating for the publication in 1916 and ended his career with them in 1963. Throughout that time he captured a wide scope of American history.

‚??If you think about the fact that when Rockwell started working with this magazine, there was still a part of the country that traveled by horse and buggy, basically, and by the time 1963 occurred, we‚??re already talking about space exploration ‚?? well, that‚??s a neat chunk of time.‚?Ě

Daly is well-versed in facts about all the different pieces, but there is one that shines through that he said most people find surprising.

‚??People are very surprised to learn that women didn‚??t get the right to vote until 1920 and that was part of Rockwell‚??s career. He illustrated a cover that shows a man and woman disagreeing about who they‚??re voting for.‚?Ě

Though Daly treasures all the pieces he works with day in and day out, he favors one above all: 1943‚??s ‚??Rosie the Riveter.‚?Ě

‚??It‚??s something that reflects a piece of American history that‚??s not always focused on,‚?Ě he said. ‚??Over the last few years, I‚??ve noticed more and more people have started to recognize it, and they‚??ve become so interested in it that they actually created a Rosie the Riveter museum in California.‚?Ě

All of the Post covers, for all the stories they tell, have one running theme: optimism. The stories depicted are ones that will warm the soul and show the brighter side of life.

‚??The covers do reflect some of the changes as time goes by, but all the while keeping in mind that Rockwell wasn‚??t chronicling American history,‚?Ě Daly said.

‚??He was showing a view of America that we‚??d like to remember.‚?Ě

‚??Norman Rockwell‚??s 323 Saturday Evening Post Covers:‚?? Pauly Friedman Art Gallery (Insalaco Hall, Misericordia University, Dallas). Open Monday through Feb. 28 with hours 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Lecture: ‚??Norman Rockwell and the 20th Century‚?Ě by Thomas C. Daly at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24. Info: 570.674.6250.

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