There are few more satisfying sights on a city street than a well-stocked newsstand, hung with a hundred or more magazines and periodicals, each competing for the attention of the potential customer. The American magazine cover enjoyed a Golden Age during the period that opened with the high-speed color press, and ended when subscription sales grew to paramount importance. Dozens of gifted artists made their reputations in this field. None of them, however, achieved the immense and sustained popular success enjoyed by Norman Rockwell.
Although technically he was an academic painter, he had the eye of a photographer and, as he became a mature artist, he used this eye to give us a picture of America that was familiar—astonishingly so—and at the same time unique. The picture seemed familiar because it was everyone’s dream of America; it was unique because only Rockwell managed to bring it to life with such authority. Rockwell held up a friendly mirror to the society he lived in, and Americans have looked into this glass and seen themselves as warm, decent, hard-working citizens of a country bountiful enough to accommodate their boundless optimism.
Rockwell best expressed this vision of America in his justly famous cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, painted between 1916 and 1963. All of his Post covers are reproduced in splendid full color in this oversized volume, with commentaries by Christopher Finch, the noted writer on art and popular culture.
In this latest printing of332 Magazine Covers, the thumbnail images accompanying Finch’s descriptive captions are printed in full color for the convenience of the reader, and the typography has been refreshed.
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