NORMAN ROCKWELL (American 1894 - 1978) . Willie Gillis: New Year's Eve, 1943, original Saturday Evening Post cover p... (Total: 3 Items Item)
Willie Gillis: New Year's Eve, 1943, original Saturday Evening Post cover preliminary drawing, with a Group of 2 reference photos
Graphite on paper
Image area: 5 x 4in.; overall paper size: 11 x 8-1/2in.
A group of two black and white reference photos is also included in this lot.
A "Willie Gillis"-themed cover scene based on this preliminary study appeared on the January 1, 1944 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Norman Rockwell based the character of Willie Gillis on the real-life person of Bob Buck. Susan E. Meyer recounts the backstory of this scene in her text for Norman Rockwell's World War II: Impressions From the Homefront, "Although he had been exempted from the draft, Bob Buck felt he could not simply stay at home while a war was going on. To his dismay, Rockwell lost his Willie Gillis in 1943, when Buck enlisted as an aviator in the Navy." The story is picked up in Rockwell's 1960 autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, "No! said the editors of the Post. You can't drop him; he's too popular. Which posed a problem. I didn't have a model. All I had were old photographs of Bob Buck. I painted Willie's girl faithfully sleeping at midnight on New Year's Eve, three photographs of Willie tacked on the wall above her bed." On a side note, one of artist Mead Schaeffer's lovely daughters was the model for Willie's girl.
Collection of Mr. Donald Walton
Condition Report*:The pieces average Excellent condition.
Rockwell, Norman:Rockwell's name has become synonymous with American illustration. From 1916 to 1963, he created hundreds of covers for "The Saturday Evening Post," many of which have become icons of American pop culture. He was also much in demand as an illustrator of corporate calendars. His method of composition for the original oil paintings that were the basis of the printed covers, was to make a loose sketch of the idea, then gather costumes, models, and props, make individual drawings of the parts, and then combine them into the final detailed work. Although his work had a great influence on creating an image of middle-class, conservative America, his work for "Look" magazine in the 1960's pursued subjects of that conflict-ridden decade, such as segregation. Throughout his long career, his work provides an excellent look into America's changing consciousness in the 20th century.
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