The photos that inspired Norman Rockwell’s paintings (16 HQ Photos)

Via The Norman Rockwell Museum.

  • masterblaster


    • masterblaster

      Oh yeah..the art… #8 is hilarious

  • echogeo

    The Cubs still make those faces.

    • masterblaster

      Yep. Sad but true….Go rangers 🙂

  • echogeo

    You'll be sorry. Just ask #8.

  • 617Chiver

    I got my dad #16 for his birthday last year for his new office (too bad I didn't think to commission someone to remake it with a Vermont State Police uniform instead of Mass), such a great piece.

    • Cara Taran Petricca

      This is from Joes Diner in Lee Ma.. The diner is still there and l

      • Cara Taran Petricca

        Oops and the diner still looks the same!

    • GBPD

      The Trooper in the original photo just passed away a few months ago.

    • W...

      Norman Rockwell actually lived in Arlington, VT and a lot of the models he used in his later career were from that town. Rock On Vermont!

  • cubssuck


  • Red

    Dude was talented.

  • Unfkngblvbl

    Very cool. My grandparents always had a lot of Rockwell's stuff, but I had no idea they were based on photos.

    • Sydtrolls

      I liked them better not knowing.

      • Stick

        Why? It's the same as having someone stand and model for you.

        • Sydtrolls

          True. I never thought of it that way. Actually I always assumed he just came up with the ideas and painted them, without models or photos. It still is super creative with him envisioning the scene, posing the models, photographing them and then painting them.

      • Simon

        A lot of painters use photographs / slide projectors as source materials. It saves sitting in out in the rain with an easel.

  • Fact Checker

    Everyone knew Rockwell used real people to set up photos for his paintings you lying cunt.

    • Swampjack

      That really jumped up a notch.

    • MylesofStyles

      Why don't you just come out and say how you really feel…

    • AnyoneForCoffee

      Yeah, you're normal.

    • DaddyD

      I didn't.

    • TU_Joe

      Well that escalated quickly…

      • cybberia

        +1 to escalated quickly….

    • Krull

      The high point of this post is me finding out douches can get negative likes!

  • Advert Vet

    Rockwell was a genius. That's some true Americana right there.

  • Static

    amazing that many of these were pieced together into new scenes. Very cool and still one of the best artists.

  • blue_bronco

    Didn't realize he was so edgy. (Look at wall)

  • Unfkngblvbl

    Well that was unnecessary.

  • Shoofly

    He's actually a cousin of mine, probably much to his chagrin.

  • Mustafa

    #16 Little bit of trivia: The gent posing as the policeman was William J. Obanhein, the chief of police for the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts for 34 years.

    Obanhein was the "Officer Obie" mentioned in Arlo Guthrie's 1967 talking blues song "Alice's Restaurant."

    • 15Weight

      Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover September 20, 1958.

      Norman Rockwell brought Ed Locke and Massachusetts state trooper Richard Clemens to the Howard Johnson's restaurant in Pittsfield to be photographed for The Runaway… In the decade's since the painting was first published, Clemens has seen it "become synonymous with law enforcement" conveying the mission to protect and serve. "Wherever you go, in state police agencies or law enforcement agencies, you'll find a picture of The Runaway hanging somewhere."

      From Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera

      Obanhein posed for Norman Rockwell (himself a resident of Stockbridge) for a handful of sketches, including the 1959 black-and-white sketch "Policeman With Boys," which was used in nationwide advertisements for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).

      He is sometimes mistaken (including on Guthrie's own Web site) for the officer who posed for Rockwell's more widely known painting "The Runaway", which appeared on a 1958 cover of The Saturday Evening Post; this was not Obanhein but Massachusetts state trooper Richard Clemens.

    • Renaldo Guadalupe

      That's cool, always loved the painting and never knew it was Officer Obie from that great song & flick.

    • @julesmarie310

      I'll take obscure art facts for 300, Alex. 🙂

  • annanaannnaaaa

    I grew up looking at these. I loved this. Thanks Mac.

  • TheChris

    I always thought he exagerratted the noses….i guess not

  • Simply Joe

    #2 Bill Nye the Science Guy is that you?

  • RobDL

    I'm sorry, but I find it a little disappointing that they were based off of posed photographs.

    • Renaldo Guadalupe

      Okay, YOU take any photograph and create a full-color hand-drawn piece of art. It may be new information (to some) but this in no way dimishes his artistic ability or genius of knowing what to shoot, how to stage it and how to turn it into the finished product.

      • John B. Poisson

        I completely agree! I'm a photographer and I have staged studio set-ups and he shows great creativity in just the ideas for the photos! Look at Number 4 and Number 12. Look how much he added to the basic photos! So many things that WEREN'T there. He seemed to need just the position or the perspective (for lack of a better description) of the principle subject and then filled-in a host of detail to get the feeling across.

    • FrankFuror

      I hate to break it to you, but people have been working off staged models since forever. Pictures just make it a little easier. There is no way your memory can supply all the detail that a painting like that requires. Look up something called a "camera obscura", and you'll find out how a lot of things you though were freehand weren't.

    • RobDL

      You all aren't getting my point. I'm not saying he isn't an artist. His style isn't for everyone, but he can draw. That isn't what disappoints me. When I looked at his paintings I always imagined they were real moments in time, captured by his mind's eye and later beautifully expressed in his paintings (hence the exaggerated features). These are staged events. Sure some are based on reality, but they didn't necessarily happen. To find out that many were preplanned, staged and in some cases a combination of different photos is disappointing.

      Renaldo, since when is being able to draw and paint like an artist have anything to do with having an opinion on it? Using your logic, unless you can do it yourself, you shouldn't be able to say he is any good.

  • El Jefe

    #11 is currently in the OKC Museum of Art. The amount of detail you're able to see in the oil is amazing when you can get two inches from the actual canvas.

  • DAVE


  • Leigh

    The arm on #1 is really creepy

  • Snarky Snarkerson

    I love his work and now I understand why his paintings looked so realistic without being too real. Now I wonder how many women Picasso cut up to make his paintings!

  • Lboogie13

    Actually I think it was very creative, especially if he posed the photographs. Also, I've grown up seeing a few of these photographs but had no idea they were Rockwells. #9 or #5.

  • Canucks_Rule

    like #16.

  • Bunny on nite shift

    Just saw the exhibit in Sacramento, CA. I grew up, leafing through a coffee table book of his art my parents had. The real images are amazing. In the 70's, after he left the Saturday Evening Post, he got more edgy and political in his art.

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