"Merrie Christmas: Couple Dancing Under Mistletoe," Norman Rockwell, 1928. Oil on canvas. Cover illustration for "The Saturday Evening Post," December 8, 1928. Collection of Bank of America. ©1928 SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.

“Merrie Christmas: Couple Dancing Under Mistletoe,” Norman Rockwell, 1928. Oil on canvas. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” December 8, 1928. Collection of Bank of America. ©1928 SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.

Stockbridge, MA, November 22, 2011—Norman Rockwell is well known for his enduring illustrations of the holidays, which brought good cheer to millions of Americans. In his autobiography, “My Adventures as an Illustrator,” the artist described important memories from his youth that were seminal to his later work. Of particular importance were Rockwell’s recollections focused on his father reading Charles Dickens stories aloud to his sons in the evening after they finished their homework. Throughout his life, Rockwell would cite the significance of those nightly readings and the influence of Dickens on his art. This holiday season Norman Rockwell Museum celebrates the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth, with a spirited new exhibition that explores the literary giant’s influence on the artist’s work—”Norman Rockwell and the Ghost of Dickens” is on view at the Museum from November 19, 2011 through February 25, 2012.

“Charles Dickens provided a great lexicon of human experience and personality types for Norman Rockwell to explore,” notes Joyce K. Schiller, Ph.D, who curated the exhibition. “He also inspired the artist’s portrayal of Dickensian characters throughout his career. Norman Rockwell Museum is pleased to present this lively visual exploration in celebration of the anniversary of Dickens’ birth, on February 7, 1812.”

“Norman Rockwell and The Ghost of Dickens” presents a rare opportunity to view a collection of original Rockwell artwork from both the Museum and private collections. Highlights include Dickens-inspired drawings from Rockwell’s autobiography; the 1937 “Reader’s Digest” painting, “A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!”; and original oil on canvas paintings for such classic “Saturday Evening Post” covers as “Christmas Trio” (1923), “Merrie Christmas: Couple Dancing under Mistletoe” (1928), and “Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit (God Bless Us Everyone)” (1934). Original cover tear sheets and charcoal studies will also be on view, further illustrating the artist’s elaborate process in creating his work.

Norman Rockwell once remarked that “(Charles) Dickens wrote about the kind of people I paint.” In Rockwell’s Dickens-inspired view of life, his neighbors served as important references for his art, compelling “types” in his visual narratives. A device the artist used in his illustrations, for which he credited the author, was the placement of tragedy and comedy together, believing that when used jointly in a work of art, an image would have a greater impact on its viewers. In his autobiography the artist wrote, “The variety, sadness, horror, happiness, treachery, the twists and turns of life… in Dickens shocked and delighted me.”

Holiday-Related Programs and Events

Enjoy a variety of family-friendly events scheduled for the holidays. The Museum will once again display our specially designed Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas train set, and don’t miss the town’s annual recreation of Rockwell’s classic 1967 painting during the weekend of December 3 and 4.

Norman Rockwell and the Ghost of Dickens
Saturday, November 19, 2:30 p.m.

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth with a traditional English tea. Cast members from Berkshire Theatre Group’s production of “A Christmas Carol” will read excerpts from the play, along with dramatic readings of the author’s classic works. Original Rockwell art inspired by the literary giant’s books, which were among his favorites, will be on view. Free with Museum admission, members free.

Pop-Up Books and Cards: The Art of Paper Engineering
Saturday, November 26, 1 to 4 p.m.

Learn about the art of paper engineering during this fun-filled afternoon of workshops, tours, and talks exploring the world of mechanical books and cards. Design your own holiday gifts to share! Free with Museum admission, members free.

The Art of Snowflakes: An Afternoon with Pop-Up Engineer
Yevgeniya Yeretskaya
Saturday, December 3, 12 p.m.

Meet internationally acclaimed paper engineer and illustrator, Yevgeniya Yeretskaya. The artist will talk about her work and then demonstrate her remarkable paper engineering process. Ms. Yeretskaya’s most recent work is showcased in “Snowflakes: A Pop-up Book,” published by Jumping Jack Press. A book-signing with the artist will follow. Free with museum admission.

Linwood Holiday House Tour
Saturday, December 3, and Sunday, December 4, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Enjoy a rare opportunity to tour historic Linwood House, the 19th century Berkshire cottage located on the Museum’s campus. The former home of New York attorney Charles E. Butler, Linwood’s interior will be dressed up for the holidays. $2, Museum members free.

Cabaret for Christmas
Saturday, December 3 , 4 to 6 p.m.

Enjoy an old-fashioned afternoon of music, art, and heartwarming treats! At 4 p.m., Curator of Education Tom Daly will explore the spirit of the holidays in Norman Rockwell’s art, and at 4:30 p.m., the Sherri James Buxton Trio will perform seasonal favorites. Sample Norman Rockwell’s favorite cookie recipe with hot chocolate, and make a holiday pop-up card to take home. Free with Museum admission, members free.

Creative Christmas Stockings
Sunday December 4, 12 to 2 p.m.

Join Museum Staff in the Children’s Center at St. Paul’s Church on Stockbridge’s Main Street for fun hands-on crafts during a village-wide celebration of the season! Tickets to the event can be purchase from the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce. This event is presented through The Town of Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas event.

Just Curious! Drop-in Art for the Whole Family
Monday through Saturday
December 26 through 31, 1 to 5 p.m.

Step into the world of children’s books during these inspiring art workshops that explore the Museum’s family-friendly Curious George and Pop-Up exhibitions. Take one or take them all! Free with Museum admission, members free.

Holiday Exhibitions

“Curious George Saves The Day: The Art of Margret and H. A. Rey”
On view through February 5, 2012

America’s favorite monkey, the irrepressible Curious George, is always in trouble. In a great turn of fate, the beloved children’s book character actually helped his creators out of a life-threatening situation. Nearly 80 original drawings for Margret and H. A. Rey’s children’s books and documentation related to their escape from Nazi-occupied Europe will be on view. The exhibition is organized by The Jewish Museum, New York City, and drawn from the H. A. & Margret Rey Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi.

“Pop-Up! The Magical World of Movable Books”
On view through April 22

The history and wonder of pop-up books will be brought to life in this special exhibition featuring Barbara and Bernard Shapiro’s extensive collection of movable literature. The exhibition will feature published books covering diverse genres, from whimsy and fantasy to the worlds of art, history and science.

“Norman Rockwell’s 323 ‘Saturday Evening Post’ Covers”

Take a trip back in time through this comprehensive exhibition of original Saturday Evening Post tear sheets, featuring every one of Norman Rockwell’s cover illustrations for the publication, created over the course of 47 years (1916-1963). Highlights include the seasonal favorites, “Christmas: Santa with Elves” (1922), “Extra Good Boys and Girls” (1939), “Christmas Homecoming” (1948), and “The Discovery” (1956).

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