And check it out fast because in May the non-art part of the museum is moving to Cimarron, NM and to the Philmont Scout Camp.
Rick, his mom and I visited this before he and I headed home. This post is in two parts and the first focuses on the art collection. You'll see numerous photos of Rockwell art in this post. If the topic interests you, check out the photo captions for more details.
|The Scoutmaster was painted in 1954. The scouts had him go back and revamp the tents because his first time through the sides of the tents were missing (like an Army tent). The scout tents have narrow sides at the bottom of the A-frame
The blog Illustration Art posted their answer to the difference between fine art and illustration. From the point of the writer, there is no difference apart from the way the artist is paid. (Often fine art is done with no direct buyer in line, while illustration tends to be done for magazines, books or other printed material and the artist is paid by the job. There are, of course exceptions.)
(By the way, if you are into this, check out the article. It's pretty interesting!)
|I didn't get the name on this one but our guide reminded us that the eyes of the two scouts in front tend to follow you no matter where you stand. And yes, they do.
|"Mighty Proud" shows a young scout moving up from Cubs into his Boy Scout uniform. You can tell the family is as thrilled as he is!
|"Forward America" was an illustration for the 1951 Brown & Bigelow Boy Scout calendar. It is unique in portraying scouts from different programs offered at the time -- Explorer, Cub, Boy Scout, Air Scout and Sea Scout (the latter two now defunct).
He is perhaps best known for his illustrations in Saturday Evening Post but I didn't know his first job was doing art for the Boy Scouts. He did numerous pieces of calendar art, including Boy Scout Calendars for the Brown and Bigelow company, among his other projects.
Rockwell's life wasn't a particularly happy one. He suffered from depression and his second wife also spent time in a psychiatric clinic. His work was dismissed by serious art critics until later in his life and his work was often considered sentimental, idealistic and "not serious." It wasn't until later in his life when he chose more serious subjects for his work that he began to claim a wider respect.
I am a sucker for Rockwell's work, having tried with little success to paint something with the complete detail, soul and personality that would be a worthy try. (Maybe it isn't my style or medium but oh, I love it!) I love the heart and energy and sheer joy.
I loved that he used the people he knew as his models and painted from photographs, often setting up an elaborate scene or going out into the field to set the stage.
For example, check out the texture on this painting. Traditionally Rockwell painted in a very smooth style.
But here you will note texture and use of the palette knife in the clouds and ground.
He also pointed out to us that while Rockwell had two signatures, the block letters here were his preferred version.
The artist often included dogs in his paintings and not surprisingly many of those he used were his own.
I loved this piece, "The Homecoming," capturing the family's enthusiasm as they welcome their home from camp. Note the energy, the partial leg and skirt of someone at the top of the steps. And if you look carefully, you will see that the step angle changes somewhat from top to bottom. Clearly, he was working from two different photos for the steps.
I really loved the detail on the wallpaper.
And check out the detail on the arm patch.
Of course, it had a Lizzie cat, so what's not to love?
Rockwell worked for the Boy Scouts and also did art for their handbooks. If you note in the photo below, the book cover is not yet painted. He hadn't decided what he wanted to do.
Here is the finished version as it appeared on the handbook.
Then there was this one, another calendar piece.
You can see the tips of the shoes, the humanity of the aging sailor...
and the detail of the globe.
Detail. Rockwell does it well. Rick had me be sure to capture this painting. (Pictured as a detail)Note the fingernails. They've been out and about!
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't show some of the work of another artist who worked with the Scouts after Rockwell. Joseph Cstari is, I think, his equal in skill.
There isn't quite enough art to catch the "heart" of the work. I won't say it doesn't exist, but I see these less as telling a story than as illustrating a point.
But done well indeed.
So, two thumbs up and a big Boy Scout salute to this museum. But if you want to see this collection, get there soon!
|Not a scouting painting, yet one of my favorites!