Norman Rockwell – “Triple Self-Portrait”

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Many years ago, an Art Dealer friend of mine, gave me some sensible advice. “Buy what you really like, but you cannot go wrong with a self portrait.” Whilst I suspect many will challenge this it does give the amateur collector a good maxim.

Norman Rockwell (1898 to 1978) is probably best remembered for his realist and superbly observational works of American culture, particularly those carried on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post Magazine that he worked for over fifty years. For me, perhaps the most iconic and finest examples of which, is “Triple Self-Portrait” painted in 1960.

Whilst for many the self-portrait has been considered a means of immortality an assertion of success, perhaps an arrogance, but this painting captures a whimsical, cartoon-like quality. At the same time, in an act of deference, onto Rockwell’s easel are pinned photos of leading self-portraits by Dürer (a leading analysts of the self-portrait), Rembrandt, Picasso and Van Gogh.

Perhaps the most unsettling element of the portrait is the blanks eyes in the mirror of the glasses worn by the reflected Rockwell. It has been suggested that in this way the artist purposefully denied the viewer access to his soul.

“Triple Self-Portrait” became Rockwell’s 308th (out of a total 322) cover of The Saturday Evening Post on February 13, 1960.

In 1969, Rockwell was instrumental in establishing The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge (Massachusetts USA) his home town until his death in 1978.

 

 

 

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