Norman Rockwell and the American Family

An exhibition organized by Norman Rockwell Museum

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About the Exhibition

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, commissioned illustrator Norman Rockwell to create scenes reflecting American family life for its national advertising campaign. These popular images appeared in such leading publications as The Saturday Evening Post, Time and Newsweek with text that inspired readers to consider purchasing life insurance. Many of Rockwell’s Stockbridge neighbors, and the artist himself, appear as models in the series. They constitute the largest group of works created by the artist for any single commission.

The eighty framed prints in this exhibition offer poignant reflections on American family life, from youth to old age, as portrayed by Norman Rockwell during the mid-twentieth century.

Image Left: Father Feeding Infant, 1957  “detail”. Reproduction of pencil drawing. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. @Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved.

Mother’s Birthday, 1963 “detail”. Reproduction of pencil drawing
Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. @Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved.

About Norman Rockwell

Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.
—Norman Rockwell

Born in New York City in 1894, Norman Rockwell always wanted to be an artist. At age 14, Rockwell enrolled in art classes at The New York School of Art (formerly The Chase School of Art). Two years later, in 1910, he left high school to study art at The National Academy of Design. He soon transferred to The Art Students League, where he studied with Thomas Fogarty and George Bridgman. Fogarty’s instruction in illustration prepared Rockwell for his first commercial commissions. From Bridgman, Rockwell learned the technical skills on which he relied throughout his long career.

Rockwell found success early. He painted his first commission of four Christmas cards before his sixteenth birthday. While still in his teens, he was hired as art director of Boys’ Life, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, and began a successful freelance career illustrating a variety of young people’s publications.

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There is currently no media for this exhibition at this time.

Host this Exhibition

Contact Information:

Mary Melius
Manager of Traveling Exhibitions


Complete Facts
Contents: 80 framed prints, H: 151/2″ x W: 121/2″ x D: 7/8″, introductory, biographical and photo panels included
Security: Low, security hardware required
Environment: No direct sunlight, heated/air conditioned facility
Speaker: available upon request

Photos of the installed galleries for Norman Rockwell and the American Family

American Family Gallery Photo
American Family Gallery Photo
American Family Gallery Photo
American Family Gallery Photo

Venues Hosting This Exhibition

This exhibition is available for hosting