Norman Rockwell described Mary Whalen as "...the best model I ever had. (She) could look sad one minute, jolly the next, and raise her eyebrows until they almost jump over her head."
Learn more about The Day in the Life of a Little Girl from Norman Rockwell model Mary Whalen Leonard in the video interviews below. Ms. Whalen Leonard was one of Rockwell's favorite child models, appearing in such classics as Girl with a Black Eye and Girl at Mirror.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), Day in the Life of a Little Girl, 1952. Oil on canvas, 45" x 42". Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, August 30, 1952. Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, NRM.1980.2 ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.
Artwork from Norman Rockwell Museum Collections and Digital Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.
Photographs from Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved.
This is a companion painting to Day in the Life of a Little Boy, Rockwell's prior cover painting for the Post published three months earlier. It would seem that painting thirty-two heads is far more work than one or two, but to Rockwell whose forte was portraiture, telling a complete story using this method was far less work than a cover with a detailed background. The events of the girl's day were so typical to the American child that this cover could be appreciated by large numbers of viewers. In other countries, Rockwell's Post covers were popular because their images were easily interpreted as the essence of American culture.