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NORMAN ROCKWELL (American, 1894-1978)
Portrait of a Woman in a Red Dress (Mrs. David Shapiro), c. 1960
Oil on canvas
16 x 15 in.
Initialed lower right
In 1960 Norman Rockwell joined a group of artists in the Pine Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts studio of Peggy Worthington Best on Thursday mornings. According to Rockwell historian Laurie Norton Moffatt, "The purpose of the class was for him to experiment in loosening up his tight, detailed style in which he felt he had become too rigid," and she has further noted, "Some of the portraits were sold in a gallery shop at the studio. Many were given to the models who had posed during the session. The remainder are part of the Norman Rockwell Paintings Trust at the Old Corner House."

This work is reproduced as figure E31 on page 1061 of Norman Rockwell A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Moffatt.

From the Estate of Charles Martignette.

Condition Report*:

This lot is in good condition with only normal wear commensurate with age. This piece is framed to an overall size of 20.75 x 19.75 in. 

Rockwell, Norman:Born in New York City on February 3, 1894, Norman Rockwell began his illustrious career at a young age, receiving his first commission to paint Christmas cards at sixteen and illustrating his first book just the following year. Rockwell’s artwork made its debut on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on May 20, 1916, becoming his first of 323 covers that would be published by the iconic American magazine over the next 47 years. Accordingly, his success with The Post captured the attention of other publications including Life, Judge and Leslie’s, and the young artist enjoyed a fruitful income throughout the 1920s. He received commissions from household names such as Jell-O, Boy Scouts of America and Orange Crush soda, among others. The 1930s and 40s also proved to be prolific periods in Rockwell’s career, despite some critics who pigeonholed his work as “kitschy”— intended for reproduction use only and therefore lacking in true artistic merit. Even some of his contemporaries referred to Rockwell as an “illustrator” instead of a painter—a label he willingly embraced. Nevertheless, Rockwell used his creative platform to draw upon social and cultural issues facing America and was praised by the public for his ability to capture the triumphs and tribulations of the common man. His political and social commentary became more apparent during the latter part of his career, and he began to receive greater recognition as an artist when he contributed to several projects condemning racism and stressing the importance of integration for the younger generations. His influence on society remains memorialized not only through his paintings but also the publications, advertisements and literature that exposed his body of work to a wider audience and allowed the greater public to appreciate what he had to say.

*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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Auction Dates
May, 2010
6th-7th Thursday-Friday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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