Lot 66
  • 66

Norman Rockwell 1894 - 1978

Estimate
500,000 - 700,000 USD
Sold
638,500 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Norman Rockwell
  • A Walk in the Country
  • signed Norman Rockwell, l.r.
  • oil on canvas

Provenance

Martin Diamond Fine Arts, New York
Private Collection (sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 30, 1985, lot 260, illustrated)
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale

Literature

Saturday Evening Post, November 16, 1935, illustrated in color on the cover
Thomas S. Buechner, Norman Rockwell, Artist and Illustrator, New York, 1970, illustrated fig. 298
Susan E. Meyer, Norman Rockwell's People, New York, 1981, illustrated p. 55 (as The Hunter)
Laurie Norton Moffatt, Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1986, vol. 1, no. C350, p. 131, illustrated (as Man Hiking with Dog)

Catalogue Note

Norman Rockwell's A Walk in the Country appeared on the November 16, 1935 cover of The Saturday Evening Post and featured one his favorite models, Fred Hildebrandt.  Based in the small town of New Rochelle, not far outside New York City, Rockwell started painting covers for The Saturday Evening Post in 1916.  He worked alongside other illustrators in the town, including Coles Phillips, Charles Dana Gibson, cartoonist Clyde Forsythe, and Rockwell's hero J.C. Leyendecker.

Rockwell's cover illustrations were ambitious and as a result, required hours of posing by willing models.  Rockwell easily found neighborhood children who were eager to model for him, however adults were a different story.  The local inhabitants of New Rochelle, a working class town, often could not afford to take off the hours needed to pose.  As a result, Rockwell and his fellow illustrators resorted to hiring professional models for two or three days at a time. Fred Hildebrandt, with his fine bone structure and lean and lithe figure, quickly became one of Rockwell's favorite models and was in great demand by the other New Rochelle illustrators.  He was a versatile model who could easily and believably adopt the role of any character: pirate, hero, adventurer, or romantic figure. Rockwell and Hildebrandt became good friends and, in addition to appearing in a number of his paintings, Hildebrandt helped Rockwell around the studio when he could.

A Walk in the Country depicts the debonair Hildebrandt in mid-stride with a cane tucked under his arm and a pipe in his mouth.  With a pack slung over his shoulders and his hands in his pockets, he walks along with his dog seemingly unconcerned about his destination or when he might get there. The farm house and picket fence suggest a leisurely walk through the countryside, perhaps his last before the onset of winter. Rockwell frequently used dogs to reflect the mood of his subjects; here the dog strides casually along side his master, his ears back and tongue hanging out, with the same relaxed expression as his owner.

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