Artists Robert Cottingham and Eric Forstmann, and Artists’ Representative Jane Eckert To Give Talk on Realism

Stockbridge, MA, July 18, 2016—Inspired by its newest exhibition, Rockwell and Realism in the Abstract World, Norman Rockwell Museum will present “Realism and the Persistence of Memory,” a talk with painters Robert Cottingham and Eric Forstmann, and artists’ representative Jane Eckert, author, art historian, and founder of Eckert Fine Art, on Thursday, July 21, starting at 5:30 p.m. Featured in the exhibition, Cottingham and Forstmann, along with Eckert, will lead a conversation about art and the creative process. Perspectives on realism and the role of memory, meaning, and personal inspiration in art will be explored. The talk is sponsored by Berkshire Magazine, and is being presented as part of the Museum’s “Real or Imagined? Adventures in Visual Culture” lecture and performance series, held Thursday evenings starting at 5:30 p.m. through the month of August.

The event is free for Museum members, or included with Museum admission.

Reservations are suggested by contacting the Museum at 413.931.2221 or

Painter Eric Forstmann at the opening reception for “Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World” at Norman Rockwell Museum, July 14, 2016.
Photo ©Norman Rockwell Museum.

Eric Forstmann has always been interested in the basic illusion of strong realist art. Though he is not a tromp l’oeil painter, he employs a shallow depth of field in his work, skillfully inviting viewers to take notice of the beauty in the ordinary that is all around us. The artist works almost exclusively from life, bridging the traditional and the contemporary. Forstmann has had four one-man shows, all before the age of fifty, and at the following institutions: The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio (2008); The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri (2011); The Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science in Evansville, Indiana (2012-2013); and The Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut (2013).

Artist Robert Cottingham at work in his Newtown, CT, studio. April 2016.
Photo by Jeremy Clowe for Norman Rockwell Museum. All rights reserved.

Robert Cottinghamis known for his photo-realistic depictions of signs, storefront marquees and railroad boxcars and letter forms, yet does not consider himself to be a photorealist artist. His imagery, while derived from photographs he takes, expands on the photographic image but does not replicate it. Most recently, Cottingham explored images derived from cameras, typewriters and machine parts he calls “components”. A retrospective of Robert Cottingham’s print work was organized and exhibited by the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC in 1998. His work can be found among the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., among others.

Jane Eckert’s roots are in 19th and early 20th century American Art. For fifteen years she lectured and published books on artists from that era. Early in her career, she met artist Robert Rauschenberg and formed a friendship that would last until his passing. In 1996, Jane opened a gallery in Naples, FL, featuring the finest of Modern and Contemporary art. Ms. Eckert is currently the Chair of the Director’s Advisory Council at Mass MoCA and has served as Secretary of the Fine Art Dealers Association (FADA). In addition to the Eckert Fine Art Gallery, she is a founder of Energy Pioneer Solutions based in Hastings, Nebraska and is a partner in Coats Wright Art and Design in Carmel, Indiana.

Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World

On view through October 30, 2016

In post-World War II America, the primacy of abstract art was clearly acknowledged, and by 1961, when Rockwell painted The Connoisseur, Abstract Expressionism had been covered in the popular press for nearly 15 years. Originated in the 1940s by Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko, among others, Abstract Expressionism was the first American movement to achieve widespread international influence.

For the first time, Norman Rockwell Museum will explore the contrast between the abstract and realist movements, placing works by Rockwell, Wyeth, and Warhol side by side with Pollock, Calder, Johns, and over 40 other preeminent artists. Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World examines the forces that forged the mid-century dismissal of narrative painting and illustration, as well as the resurgence of realist painting during the latter half of the twentieth century, its presence and critical consideration today, and the ways in which our contemporary viewpoints have been shaped by post World War II constructs.

The exhibition features the art of prominent illustrators, painters, and sculptors whose autographic art spans more than 60 years, representing many dynamic forms of visual communication.  Featured artists include: Marshall Arisman, Bo Bartlett, Austin Briggs, Alexander Calder, Alan E. Cober, Robert Cottingham, Robert Cunningham, Joe De Mers, Walton Ford, Eric Forstmann, Helen Frankenthaler, Bernie Fuchs, Sam Francis, Edwin Georgi, George Giusti, Ralph Goings, Cleve Grey, Brad Holland, Dan Howe, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Anita Kunz, Jacqui Morgan, Robert Motherwell, Barbara Nessim, Barnett Newman, Tim O’Brien, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Al Parker, Bob Peak, Philip Pearlstein, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, Norman Rockwell, Peter Rockwell, James Rosenquist, David Salle, Saul Steinberg, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Robert Weaver, Thomas Woodruff, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth. The exhibition is sponsored by TD Bank.