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    Description

    Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978)
    Stealing Socks, Interwoven Stocking advertisement, 1928
    Oil on canvas
    30-1/2 x 24-1/2 inches (77.5 x 62.2 cm)
    Signed lower right: Norman / Rockwell




    PROVENANCE:
    Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, December 4, 1980, lot 190;
    Galerie de Tours, San Francisco, California, August 1988;
    Private collection, acquired from the above;
    Private collection, Miami, Florida, by descent from the above.

    LITERATURE:
    L.N. Moffatt, Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue, Vol. I, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, pp. 434-35, no. A475, Illustrated.

    Through numerous illustrations appearing in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post and The Literary Digest, Norman Rockwell's timeless images of everyday America entered the homes of millions of people. His descriptive painting style and ability to encapsulate the traditional and nearly universal values shared in the American experience contributed to his tremendous popularity and rendered him hugely successful. Stealing Socks serves as a primary example of Rockwell's skillful ability to present an enduring and heartwarming image that continues to resonate with the public even decades after its creation.

    At the age of eighteen, in 1912, Rockwell had his own studio in New York City and was supporting himself doing advertising work for local companies. During his tenure as Art Editor at Boy's Life, Rockwell was granted access to several other periodicals and soon found himself working freelance by providing covers and story illustrations for many other magazines. During the late 1910s, illustration jobs were becoming increasingly competitive as magazines were incorporating more photographic images into their layout and rising costs in book publishing were limiting opportunities for illustrators in that field. It is probably due only to his talent and drive that Rockwell was largely unaffected by this trend. "At an age when most young men are leaving college, Norman already ranked as one of America's leading illustrators" (A.L. Guptill, Norman Rockwell: Illustrator, New York, 1946, p. 72).

    In 1916, one of Rockwell's illustrations appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post for the first time. This great achievement was a windfall for the artist leading to commissions from a variety of magazines, including Collier's, The Literary Digest and Life. "By 1938, Rockwell's illustrations--on calendars, in books and magazines, tacked up on bedroom walls, often framed--were a familiar presence in the American home and had been for a long time" (S. Murray, Norman Rockwell At Home in Vermont: The Arlington Years, 1939-53, Bennington, Vermont, 1997, p. 5). Although at times filled with self-doubt, Rockwell was innately aware of the public's interest, wants and needs and ceaselessly delivered highly marketable works with incredible proficiency and alacrity.

    Recognizing the readership's nostalgia for young and old alike, Rockwell produced Stealing Socks as an advertisement for Interwoven Stocking that first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post Magazine on February 11, 1928, page 93. The present work is a delightful and funny depiction of a thief stopping amidst his heist to admire a simple pair of socks. The work is executed in Rockwell's signature descriptive style of finely drawn, clear realism with a wealth of fascinating detail. In discussing his career, Rockwell commented, "I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed. And perhaps, therefore, this is one function of the illustrator. He can show what has become so familiar that it is no longer noticed. The illustrator thus becomes a chronicler of his time" (as quoted in Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1986, p. xii). With Stealing Socks, Rockwell once again succeeds in capturing the nostalgia of a simpler world that is as familiar today as it was nearly a century ago when he painted this charming work.





    Condition Report*: Framed Dimensions 36 X 30 Inches
    *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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2018
    4th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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