Stockbridge Town Hall
Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Currently on view
“Your models can make or break your work.” -Norman Rockwell
In the fall of 1953, Norman Rockwell and his wife Mary moved from Arlington, Vermont to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the quintessential New England town which was home to the artist for his last twenty-five years. Rockwell, who then hired local people to model for the subjects of his illustrations, wasted no time employing residents of Stockbridge and the neighboring communities to pose for him. “After a while,” he said, “I knew everybody in town.”
Increasingly besieged by deadlines, Norman Rockwell began to use photographs as his primary references in the 1930s. He directed models on how to pose in his studio, and hired photographers to capture the likenesses that would ultimately inform his work. Together with his art, Rockwell’s reference photography inadvertently established an intimate and lasting record of the people of Stockbridge, who were an integral part of the artist’s most memorable images. Rockwell once noted, “I couldn’t ask for better models than my neighbors . . . I couldn’t do it without them.”
The preservation of this important legacy is made possible by The Stockbridge Models Project, a Norman Rockwell Museum initiative which has helped make the digitization and study of Rockwell’s Stockbridge photographic references possible. We are grateful for Town of Stockbridge support in this endeavor, which ensures the accessibility of these significant materials.