Rockwell admirers and scholars take note! On view in our galleries now and throughout the year will be several rare Norman Rockwell drawings and studies (executed between 1953 – 1975) that have not been seen by the public before. Although part of the large collection Rockwell entrusted to the Museum in 1976, these drawings were so damaged or compromised that they needed to be restored first before they could be shown.
Thanks to a generous federal grant from Save America’s Treasures in 2011, we delivered them to Williamstown Art Conservation Center for treatment. And over the course of 18 months, the drawings were restored one by one, then re-matted and re-framed in archival material. The final pieces returned to the Museum last fall.
These drawings show Rockwell’s keen working process. Before he began an oil painting, he made many smaller sketches followed by a full-scale charcoal drawing. That full-scale drawing was where he resolved all final composition, tonality, and pictorial details – many are as complete as his final oil paintings.
The newly restored drawings will be rotated in the galleries sporadically throughout the year, a few at a time to prevent any long-term exposure to sunlight. Look for them next time you visit!