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Almost Gone! Highly Recommended. By Tom Rockwell. Art by Norman Rockwell. Edited by Abigail Rockwell. The wit, humanity, and many-sided talent of Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) are on full display in his classic and profusely illustrated autobiography. Rockwell’s New York City boyhood, his apprentice days at the Art Students League, his first fateful visit to the Saturday Evening Post, his adventures abroad, his move to rural Vermont, judging the 1922 Miss America pageant with fellow artists—all are recounted with a mix of sharp observation and self-deprecating humor. Throughout Rockwell invites the reader into his artistic process: he introduces his favorite models, candidly reveals his biggest flops, and documents the creation of a Post cover step by step. Abbeville Press, 2019.

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The wit, humanity, and many-sided talent of Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) are on full display in his classic and profusely illustrated autobiography. Rockwell’s New York City boyhood, his apprentice days at the Art Students League, his first fateful visit to the Saturday Evening Post, his adventures abroad, his move to rural Vermont, judging the 1922 Miss America pageant with fellow artists—all are recounted with a mix of sharp observation and self-deprecating humor. Throughout Rockwell invites the reader into his artistic process: he introduces his favorite models, candidly reveals his biggest flops, and documents the creation of a Post cover step by step.

This Definitive Edition restores the original 1960 text of My Adventures as an Illustrator, as well as the playful vignettes that Rockwell drew to head each chapter. Thanks to a massive image digitization effort undertaken by the Norman Rockwell Museum, it is also illustrated with more than 150 of Rockwell’s paintings and drawings, many of which highlight lesser-known aspects of his work. There is also much of his earlier work here, which I personally find the most interesting–back when he had much in common with N.C. Wyeth and Frank Schoonover, a romantic style as he captured pirates, cute young ladies, book readers, young lovers, etc.

A new introduction by the artist’s granddaughter Abigail Rockwell adds reference value, as do an illustrated chronology and an annotated bibliography prepared by the staff of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

This attractive volume will be the essential source on the life of Norman Rockwell, and delightful reading for anyone who enjoys his art. Plus, its publication coincides with a major new exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum concerning the autobiographical elements in the artist’s work (Norman Rockwell: Private Moments for the Masses, June 8 through October 27, 2019).

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