9
9

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION, CHICAGO

Norman Rockwell
FIRST FLIGHT (OLD WOMAN RIDING AIRPLANE)
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,632,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
9

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION, CHICAGO

Norman Rockwell
FIRST FLIGHT (OLD WOMAN RIDING AIRPLANE)
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,632,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

|
New York

Norman Rockwell
1894 - 1978
FIRST FLIGHT (OLD WOMAN RIDING AIRPLANE)
signed Norman/Rockwell (lower right)
oil on canvas
31 by 25 inches
(78.7 by 63.5 cm)
Painted in 1938. 
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Bernard Danenberg Galleries, New York
Mr. and Mrs. Morton Künstler, Oyster Bay, New York
Acquired by the present owner, circa 1980

Exhibited

Brooklyn, New York, Brooklyn Museum; Washington D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, Norman Rockwell: A Sixty Year Retrospective, March-May 1972, no. 36, illustrated p. 74 (as Airplane Trip)
Daytona Beach, Florida, Museum of Arts and Sciences; West Palm Beach, Florida, Norton Museum of Art, Norman Rockwell's America, January-March 1976
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Brandywine River Museum, Art of American Illustration, September-November 1976

Literature

The Saturday Evening Post, June 3, 1938, illustrated on the cover © SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved.
Thomas Buechner, Norman Rockwell: Artist & Illustrator, New York, 1970, no. 317, illustrated p. 130
Christopher Finch, Norman Rockwell’s America, New York, 1975, p. 126, illustrated fig. 166, p. 133
Dr. Donald R. Stoltz and Marshall L. Stoltz, Norman Rockwell and 'The Saturday Evening Post:' The Middle Years, New York, 1976, p. 143, illustrated p. 144 (as Maiden Voyage)
Mary Moline, Norman Rockwell Encyclopedia: A Chronological Catalogue of the Artist’s Work 1910-1978, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1979, illustrated fig. 1-289, p. 62
Christopher Finch, Norman Rockwell: 332 Magazine Covers, New York, 1979, pp. 283, 290
Norman Rockwell, Rockwell on Rockwell: How I Make a Picture, New York, 1979, illustrated p. 69
Laurie Norton Moffatt, Norman Rockwell: Catalogue Raisonné, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1986, vol. I, no. C369, p. 138, illustrated p. 139
Jan Cohn, Covers of “The Saturday Evening Post:” Seventy Years of Outstanding Illustration from America’s Favorite Magazine, New York, 1995, illustrated p. 167

Catalogue Note

Norman Rockwell’s partnership with The Saturday Evening Post was the most significant of his prolific career, and he ultimately executed 321 cover illustrations for the publication over a forty-seven year period. These commissions allowed Rockwell’s distinctive aesthetic to reach millions of American households on a daily basis. By presenting his audience with wholesome, humorous and idealistic images of their own lives, Rockwell became one of the most celebrated and beloved illustrators of the 20th century. 

Appearing on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on June 4, 1939, when commercial air travel was becoming more widespread, First Flight captures the quintessentially American spirit of adventure. Rockwell depicts an older woman sitting rigidly upright in her seat, taking in all of the wonders of her first airplane voyage. She gazes intently out of the window and meticulously follows the plane’s route on a detailed map that is spread out on her lap atop a small suitcase. Rockwell does not explicitly identify the woman or the purpose of her journey. Instead, she represents the average American who is venturing from home and experiencing air travel for the first time. As Donald Stoltz explains, "“By this time Rockwell was a seasoned traveler and flying was not a new experience to him, but the always shared the anxiety and excitement of the lady on this Post cover” (Norman Rockwell and 'The Saturday Evening Post:' The Middle Years, New York, 1976, p. 143). 

Executed during the twenty-third year of his relationship with The Saturday Evening PostFirst Flight highlights Rockwell’s technical precision and masterful dratmanship. He renders each component of the composition – from the flight map to the woman’s lace collar–with remarkable detail. Rockwell’s characteristic ability to capture emotion is simultaneously demonstrated in his rendering of the woman’s facial expression and posture. First Flight not only displays Rockwell’s sentimental sense of humor but also illustrates his quintessentially American aesthetic.

American Art

|
New York