Norman Rockwell painted 321 covers for The Saturday Evening Post (the magazine published his 1960 cover portrait of John F. Kennedy again in 1963 after the President’s death). The artist also created numerous covers and story illustrations for the many popular periodicals of his day.
As magazines shifted their attention to photographs, illustrators found work in other mediums (such as children’s books). However, one magazine has consistently utilized illustration art for their covers. Launched as a weekly in 1925, The New Yorker examines culture, art, business and politics, and its topical covers have become a meaningful part of America’s cultural dialogue. In 2005, Norman Rockwell Museum paid tribute to the magazine’s memorable art with the exhibition, The Art of The New Yorker: Eighty Years in the Vanguard, which featured over 130 original works that were showcased on the cover of the venerable publication.
Two popular New Yorker artists are being featured in their own original art exhibitions this year at Norman Rockwell Museum. Recently opened, Istvan Banyai: Stranger in a Strange Land looks at the work of the innovative, Hungarian-born artist; several New Yorker covers are featured in the exhibition, including his dreamlike The Lovers from August 31, 2009. Opening May 11, R.O. Blechman: The Inquiring Line looks at the work of the celebrated illustrator and animator, behind such humorous New Yorker covers as The Artist’s Mother (May 1990).
Of course these works will be presented alongside the original art of one of the greatest cover artists of all-time, Norman Rockwell, who never created artwork for The New Yorker but has frequently found his iconic images referenced by the magazine’s many talented contemporary illustrators.