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    Description

    Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978)
    Girl at Mirror, The Saturday Evening Post cover study, 1954
    Oil on photographic paper laid on board
    10-1/8 x 10-1/2 inches (25.7 x 26.7 cm)
    Initialed lower left: N/R

    PROVENANCE:
    The artist;
    Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth J. Stuart, Sr., gift from the above;
    Private collection, by descent;
    Sotheby's, New York, December 4, 2013, lot 15;
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.

    LITERATURE:
    L.N. Moffatt, Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, Vol. I, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1986, p. 197, no. C470a, illustrated.

    A copy of the magazine featuring the completed image accompanies this lot.

    The term "Rockwellian" has been used to denote a world teeming with harmony in familial relationships, patriotism, optimism, and a general feeling that all is well. In Norman Rockwell's world, children grow up before our eyes -- still disobeying rules, grappling with social pressures, and struggling with their evolution to adulthood. One of Norman Rockwell's most recognizable works, Girl at Mirror is an iconic example of the artist's career-long fascination with the theme of childhood, and the harsh realities of growing up.

    Girl at Mirror was originally created as the cover of the March 6, 1954 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. According to journalist Rute Ferreira, "The image is full of extremely symbolic and very insightful elements. The girl looks apprehensively at the mirror. On her lap, we see an opened magazine showing a photo of the actress Jane Russell, who alongside the diva Marilyn Monroe, starred in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. At her feet, the girl has a comb, a brush and a lipstick (red, of course!). While in the corner of the mirror, we see a forgotten doll discarded without much care. These elements give us a clear message: the girl is no longer a little girl; she has discarded her dolls and wants to look as beautiful as the girl in the magazine. Even so, the girl's apprehensive face, which is seen in the mirror, shows doubts - is it really time to grow up like this?" (Daily Art Magazine, May 31, 2018, online entry)

    Rockwell executed a number of fundamental changes between his color study and his final work. His study omits the headshot of Jane Russell in Whalen's lap that would appear in the final version. The artist later recalled his preference for Mary Whalen, calling her "the best little girl model I ever had. She could assume any expression I requested: sad, merry, wistful, disdainful. Her body was as expressive as her face" (The Norman Rockwell Album, Garden City, New York, 1961, p. 138). Rockwell eventually regretted his decision to incorporate this detail saying, "I should not have added the photograph of the movie star. The little girl is not wondering if she looks like the star but trying to estimate her own charms" (K. A. Marling, Norman Rockwell, 1997, p. 44).

    In interviews with Rockwell's favored model Mary Whalen, Ms. Whalen has commented, "Despite the way the painting was understood, she was just enjoying herself. She was not comparing herself to the movie stars or leaving her dolls aside for dreams fueled by red lipsticks. All in all, all of this in fact matters little. The sweetness of this work is undoubtedly the best of it" (Daily Art Magazine, May 31, 2018, online entry).




    Condition Report*: Light overall surface dirt; slight undulation to photo paper; under UV light, there appears to be two small spots of below signature.
    Framed Dimensions 25.5 X 22.5 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, 2019
    3rd Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,855

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