CBS News observes 100th anniversary of Rockwell’s first Post cover

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — One hundred years ago this month, the first of more than 300 Norman Rockwell covers appeared in the “Saturday Evening Post.”

But there’s a little-known story about those portraits: between concept and canvas, there was camera.

Photography was a technique Rockwell started using in the early 1930’s to streamline his painting process.

“He really couldn’t have somebody stand there for hours, it was just too tedious too time consuming, they couldn’t hold the pose,” said Stephanie Plunkett, the lead curator at the Norman Rockwell museum.

She’s the keeper of the tens of thousands of reference photos, all of which Rockwell directed like a movie. No detail was left un-photographed — not the linoleum floor, or a doctor’s scale. Even Rockwell himself was photographed when a model wasn’t unavailable.

“He really was a thinking painter. There was never anything in a Rockwell that wasn’t there for a very good reason.”


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