Visitors to Norman Rockwell Museum continue to be fascinated by Norman Rockwell’s models. In addition to playing an integral part in the development of the Rockwell’s work, these individuals have also offered many fascinating anecdotes about the artist over the years.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), "Freedom From Fear," 1943

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom From Fear,” 1943. Oil on canvas, 45 3/4” x 35 1/2”. Story illustraiton for “The Saturday Evening Post,” March 13, 1943. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN

This Friday, September 4, 2:30 p.m. our Meet Rockwell’s Models program returns, welcoming a group of individuals who worked for and, in some cases, called America’s favorite illustrator a neighbor during his years in Arlington, Vermont, and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The models include:

  • Marjorie Coulter, the little girl being tucked into bed in Freedom From Fear (1943)
  • Ed Locke, who posed for the classic 1958 Saturday Evening Post covers, The Runaway and Before The Shot
  • Mary Agnes Stevens, a model for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (1950s)
  • Eleanor Stevens, one of the girls in the 1957 Saturday Evening Post cover, Girl Missing Tooth (The Checkup)
  • Claire Williams, model for Massachusetts Mutual advertisements (1950s)

Come hear about these individuals’ unique memories and experiences. The event is free with regular Museum admission. During your visit, be sure to check out our newly installed process gallery, showing all the stages of Norman Rockwell’s work—from preliminary sketch, reference photography, charcoal and painted studies, and the final paintings.

Rockwell’s United Nations illustration never made it past a detailed charcoal study, but it has been delighting visitors to the United Nations Headquarters as part of our We The Peoples exhibition. Last week one very special visitor made the trek to New York City to see for herself.

NR Reference photo, UN, 1953

Pauline Adams (lower right) and family pose for Norman Rockwell’s “United Nations,” early 1950s. Photo by Gene Pelham. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved.

Pauline Adams Grimes was one of the children who modeled for the 1953 drawing, and was delighted to hear about not only the exhibition, but that the study still existed (part of the Museum’s permanent collection, it was conserved and restored back in 2009). Pauline is the young African American girl pictured in the lower right-hand side of the drawing.

A longtime resident of Cambridge, New York, Pauline and her siblings were introduced to Norman Rockwell back in the early 1950s, by artist/neighbor Grandma Moses, who knew that Rockwell was looking for a multi-ethnic crowd to appear in his drawing. Photos were taken in the artist’s Arlington studio, and used as reference for the drawing, which also included delegates to the UN, who Rockwell photographed after visiting the organization’s then newly founded headquarters.

The drawing was put aside, but Rockwell revisited the concept for his painting, Golden Rule, which appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in April of 1960. Pauline’s brother Paul, and several other Vermont residents made the transition from charcoal study to painting, along with Stockbridge residents, but Pauline did not make the cut. Finally seeing the original drawing meant a great deal to her.

“It was beautiful,” she said, after visiting the exhibit with her family. “It’s more than I ever dreamed it would be.”

In addition to enjoying the display, Pauline had the opportunity to meet with Deputy Secretary-General, Jian Eliasson, and take a tour of the Headquarters, including a view of the Security Council chamber, and the Golden Rule mosaic, on view elsewhere in the building.

UN Deputy Secretary-General_Adams_family

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson meets with Norman Rockwell model, Pauline Grimes (“United Nations”) and family, August 2015. Photo courtesy: United nations. All rights reserved.

“I was honored to be there, and so thankful to the Museum for contacting me about it.”

Pauline plans to visit the Museum in Stockbridge in October, and we hope to have her share her experiences of posing for the work, and visiting the exhibition. Watch this space for more details.


Meet Rockwell’s Models talks take place every first Friday of the month.

We The Peoples: Norman Rockwell’s United Nations is on view through September 15, 2015 at the United Nations Visitors Centre in New York City.