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A Special Look At Norman Rockwell's Artistic Process

The Norman Rockwell Family Agency

The works of an artist that many feel represents America itself will be on exhibit in San Antonio this week when a landmark Normal Rockwell exhibit opens at the McNay.

This is more than a collection of Rockwell’s artworks. Instead, Normal Rockwell: Behind the Camera, offers a behind-the-scenes journey through the creative process, showing how Rockwell developed his iconic images.

Early in his career, Rockwell hired professional models to pose for the characters in his paintings, but in the 1930s, the painter turned to photography, setting props and selecting locations, and staging the photographs by directing the models much as a film director works with a cinematographer.

He created perhaps hundreds of photographs for each new subject, and those early images brought a new flesh-and-blood realism to his work.

Some feel the artist’s photography captured a keen authenticity that Rockwell infused in his subsequent drawings and paintings.

Guests will recognize the many covers of the Saturday Evening Post, Rockwell’s 25 years of Boy Scout drawings, and sketches of military officers and sailors he committed to paper after he was rejected from enlisting in the Navy.

Normal Rockwell: Behind the Camera, opens at the McNay Art Museum this Wednesday, June 5.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.