Even in this beloved still-life, Norman Rockwell had to include a model: the robin is a sure sign of spring!
Spring Flowers was originally a 1969 illustration for McCall’s. Rockwell was commissioned to paint a series of pictures of seasonal flowers, but he only completed the first. Spring Flowers appeared opposite a story on “Arranging the Flowers That Bloom in the Spring,” which described ideas for flower selection and presentation. Since he painted it in December and January, the flowers were purchased from a florist.
Since Rockwell’s wife, Molly, was an avid gardener Rockwell used her sunhat, gardening gloves, sneakers, and tools as props for the painting. Molly purchased new sneakers for the occasion, thinking her own too old, but Rockwell stained them with dirt and grass for a more authentic look. Rockwell portrays Molly’s presence without painting her directly. It is a portrait of a woman who stays in touch with nature through the medium of her garden. Including the robin as a harbinger for spring was Molly’s idea.
Purchase a print of Spring Flowers from Norman Rockwell Museum’s online store—a perfect Mother’s Day gift!