Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), "Expense Account," 1957. Painting for "The Saturday Evening Post" cover, November 30, 1957. Oil on canvas, 31 /14" x 29". Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Expense Account,” 1957. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” November 30, 1957. Oil on canvas. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN.

Need a break from those taxes? Join us this week at Norman Rockwell Museum, and enjoy our exhibitions and activities related to the art of Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker. Currently on display, we have the entire collection of Saturday Evening Post covers created by both Rockwell and Leyendecker (how is that for a complete filing?).

Expense Account, Norman Rockwell’s November 30, 1957 cover for The Saturday Evening Post offers some comic relief. Part of Norman Rockwell Museum’s permanent collection, Rockwell conceived this painting as a business traveler’s desperate late-night attempt to reconcile his expense account. He told Saturday Evening Post art editor Ken Stuart he wanted a “cold almost bluish light” to evoke the feeling of desperation. When Stuart suggested they overlay an expense account around the traveler, Rockwell set the Pullman car scene against boundless white space. He replaced his early model, Louie Lamone, with his neighbor Ernest Hall, whose body language was more harried and more humorous.

To augment his story, Rockwell used lots of ready props. His numerous business trips to New York and his 1955 round-the-world trip for Pan American Airlines provided him with lots of ticket stubs, receipts, and nightclub ephemera. Post readers reacted to the cover with the usual assortment of feelings. A man from Norfolk, Virginia, said it was “far from funny . . . a moral tragedy,” but a Cleveland reader, called it “superb,” and said he did a lot of traveling and well appreciated the character’s dilemma. And a woman from Texas said her three-year-old son learned his first curse word, “damn,” while his father was preparing his expense account.

Remember, admission to Norman Rockwell Museum is tax-free! For further relief, please consider a tax-deductible donation.

Saturday, April 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m.