No Swimming, 1921

Norman Rockwell might have been thinking of his boyhood summer vacations in upstate New York as he captured a simple joy of country life in No Swimming. Rockwell was branded as an illustrator of children during his early career, which was dominated by his association with Boys' Life magazine and another children's magazine, St. Nicholas. He perfected the art of painting from the point of view of boys and girls in genre scenes such as this one, capturing slices of life as a camera might have. But such images, just a click away for photographers, were a challenge for artists. Before Rockwell began using photography to aid his painting process, his models had to hold their poses for lengthy stretches, sometimes with limbs propped up by stacks of books or held with ropes and pulleys. Rockwell kept a pile of nickels on a table next to his easel. "Every twenty-five minutes," he recorded, "I'd transfer five of the nickels to the other side of the table, saying, 'Now that's your pile.' "

No Swimming, Norman Rockwell, 1921.
Oil on canvas
Painting for The Saturday Evening Post cover, June 4, 1921
Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust