Shuffleton Barbershop (1950) embodies Norman Rockwell’s visual storytelling ability at its best. Los Angeles's Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which will open to the public in 2022, has acquired this definitive work in dedication to its mission of celebrating the power and significance of visual storytelling.
Executed at the height of the Norman Rockwell’s fame, Shuffleton's Barbershop is a technical tour de force. Long since closed to customers, a darkened barbershop is illuminated only by a golden light that bathes a trio of musicians playing in the back room. Complex in both content and form, Shuffleton’s Barbershop evinces Rockwell's mastery of his medium, his wide-ranging art historical influences, and his unparalleled ability to tell a complex story in one image. Made for the April 29, 1950, cover of The Saturday Evening Post, the painting demonstrates the continued resonance of Rockwell’s singular vision of American life.
With the acquisition of this iconic work, the museum also announced its decision to offer Shuffleton’s Barbershop on long-term loan to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, lasting into 2020. Previously Shuffleton’s Barbershop was held in the collection of Massachusetts’s Berkshire Museum of Art.
“We are immensely grateful to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art for ensuring that Norman Rockwell's masterpiece Shuffleton's Barbershop will continue to be available to and enjoyed by the public.” said Laurie Norton Moffatt, Norman Rockwell Museum Director and CEO. “It is especially meaningful for the people of Berkshire County who will have the opportunity to enjoy this masterpiece for a few more years, knowing that it will remain in the public realm."
At the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Shuffleton’s Barbershop will join a number of the most iconic works of Rockwell’s storied career, including Saying Grace (1951) and After the Prom (1957). Along with important works of American illustration, the museum will present significant works of Impressionism, photography and film.