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18
Norman Rockwell
ME AND MY PAL: RIVALS
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 325,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
18
Norman Rockwell
ME AND MY PAL: RIVALS
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 325,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

|
New York

Norman Rockwell
1894 - 1978
ME AND MY PAL: RIVALS
signed Norman/Rockwell (lower right)
oil on canvas
14 by 13 1/4 inches
(35.6 by 33.7 cm)
Painted in 1954.
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Provenance

Brown & Bigelow, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1954 (commissioned from the artist)
(probably) Martin Diamond Fine Art, New York
Eleanor Ettinger Gallery, New York, by 1979 (probably acquired from the above)
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1985

Literature

Brown & Bigelow, Four Seasons calendar, spring 1954
Laurie Norton Moffatt, Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, vol. I, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1986, no. A137, p. 317, illustrated p. 316

Catalogue Note

Me and My Pal: The Rivals is a quintessential example of Norman Rockwell's work for the publishing company Brown & Bigelow, which commissioned the artist to create illustrations for its Four Seasons calendar series from 1948 through 1964. Each year the calendar had a different theme, which Rockwell then explored in four separate illustrations focused on each of the four seasons. The full suite of images often depicted two central characters, typically a young couple or a boy and his dog, as they engaged in various seasonal activities throughout the year. In addition to their appearance in Brown & Bigelow calendars, Rockwell’s images were sold nationwide as prints and other collectible items. As is true of his magazine covers, the widespread national engagement with these images allowed them to become widely known and cherished by the American public. 

Rockwell’s Four Seasons calendars exemplify his seemingly effortless ability to imbue all of his works with a strong narrative element and indeed, attest to the remarkable cinematic quality that infuses his most successful compositions. The annual suite of calendar images closely resemble the storyboard of a film, with Rockwell providing the primary plot but encouraging his viewers to use their own imaginations to fill in the details of the overarching narrative. The commercial success and enduring popularity of the Four Seasons calendars defines Rockwell’s unique ability to select widely appealing subjects that would resonate with almost all Americans, and to inject humor into scenes of everyday life. “It is easy to see that had he not been a gifted artist,” states his biographer Christopher Finch, “Norman Rockwell might have become a successful writer or director for films or television. Situation comedy has been one of the most popular genres in both these mediums, and no one has a better knack for inventing comedic situations than Rockwell” (102 Favorite Paintings by Norman Rockwell, New York, 1978, p. 124).

American Art

|
New York