Norman Rockwell Museum Celebrates The Opening of Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World

Stockbridge, MA, July 5, 2016—Norman Rockwell Museum will celebrate the opening of its newest exhibition Rockwell and Realism in the Abstract World,with a series of artist talks during the month of July.

On Sunday, July 10, starting at 5 p.m., the Museum will present “American Realist,” an evening with painter Bo Bartlett, whose work is featured in the exhibition. An American realist with a modernist vision, Bartlett’s monumental paintings are created in the tradition of Thomas Eakins, Andrew Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell, with a contemporary twist. Bartlett will offer insights into his work, which celebrates the underlying epic nature of the commonplace and the personal significance of the extraordinary. The event is free for Museum members, or included with Museum admission.

On Tuesday, July 12, starting at 5:30 p.m., the Museum will present “The Wyeth Legacy: A Family of Artists.” Joyce Hill Stoner, who worked personally with the Wyeths as model, conservator, and author, will look at the artistic legacy of the Wyeth family across three generations—from acclaimed illustrator N.C. Wyeth to his son and grandson, painters Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth. Ms. Hill Stoner is the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Material Culture at the University of Delaware. Original paintings by Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth are featured in the Rockwell and Realism exhibition. The event is free for Museum members, or included with Museum admission.

The Museum will celebrate Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World with an opening event on Thursday, July 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with remarks by illustrator Marshall Arisman at 6:30 p.m. Explore the schism between realist and abstract art, which relegated narrative painting—and especially illustration—to a lesser status in mid-twentieth century America. Mr. Arisman, whose work is featured in the exhibition, is the Chair/Founder of the School of Visual Arts Masters Degree in Illustration.

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

“The Box,” 2002. Bo Bartlett.
Colletion of Andrew Nelson. All rights reserved.

Upcoming Events:

Realism and the Persistence of Memory
with Jane Eckert, Robert Cottingham, and Eric Forstmann
Thursday, July 21, 5:30 p.m.

Jackson Pollock and the Rise of Abstract Expressionism
with Helen A. Harrison
Monday, July 25, 5:30 p.m.

Norman Rockwell and the Challenge of Realism
with Deputy Director/Chief Curator Stephanie Haboush Plunkett
Thursday, July 28, 5:30 p.m.
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.