Unpacked baggage

American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell

By Deborah Solomon
Farrar Straus Giroux, £17.70, $28, hardback

Is any contemporary illustrator a household name today? Not in the same way that Norman Rockwell was. He came of age in the United States when magazine and book illustrators were brands with distinct personalities and métiers – and rock-star-sized followings. Enthusiastic fans invested their loyalty in the artists and their faith in the illustrations. In Rockwell’s case, whenever his work diverged from the identity he established as chronicler of the American dream he received torrents of protest.


Cover of American Mirror.
Top: ‘Boy with Baby Carriage’, 1916, Norman Rockwell’s first cover for the Saturday Evening Post, a picture which Deborah Solomon sees as a key to Rockwell’s symbolism.


Steven Heller, design writer, New York

Read the full version in Eye no. 88 vol. 22 2014


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. You can see what Eye 88 looks like at Eye before you buy on Vimeo.

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