Explore & Learn
home   ·   online exhibits   ·   pic of the month
pic archive  

rockwell painting
Painting: "EXCUSE MY DUST"
Artist: Norman Rockwell
Painted for the July 31 1920 issue of the Saturday Evening Post
ID 64.167.529.1

Find out more about the tour,
Norman Rockwell: Pictures for
the American People
, at

March 2000

The American family (seen here as everyday folks: Mom, Pop and their boy) is pitted against the anonymous, rich elite (represented only by the hood of an expensive, shiny car) in a race to the top of the hill.

Norman Rockwell, the delineator of the American scene during the second and third quarter of the 20th century, painted this picture for the cover of the very popular weekly magazine. His first cover for the Saturday Evening Post was produced in 1916 when he was 22. The commission was then considered to be the pinnacle of achievement for an illustrator. Over the next 47 years, Rockwell produced 321 covers for the Post. Each of his painted scenes caught the sprit of America and illuminated the core of an easily understood situation.

Here, he depicts what appears to be a spur-of-the-moment car race between a dilapidated Model "T" roadster and an expensive, possibly European, luxury automobile. Improbably, the Model "T" is winning! World War I was over and Americans were full of themselves. Perhaps this image is a realization of the point-of-view that America was speeding ahead of tired, old Europe.

Good Ol' American family values are accented in the image. Father leads the way leaning aggressively forward. Mother gives quiet support while admiring her offspring who is totally unrestrained in his delight at besting the expensive, fancy car that even has something like a tired, old imperial eagle as a hood ornament.

Few people deny that Norman Rockwell possessed wonderful technical skill. But is his work art? For years the art community looked down at what were considered merely illustrations. Today, his work is being reevaluated. A major exhibition of the work of Norman Rockwell is being exhibited at art museums across the country. Organized by Atlanta's High Museum of Art with The Norman Rockwell Museum, the exhibition will end up at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City in 2002.



[ Pic of the Month ]    [ Pic Archive ]


Copyright © The Henry Ford  ~  http://www.TheHenryFord.org