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Norman Rockwell Lithographs from the Powers Collection, Cheney, Washington


One of the largest private collections of works by Norman Rockwell in the United States will be on view at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art through March 30, 2002.

Norman Rockwell, perhaps America's most beloved artist, created works that defined an era. He is most well known for his Saturday Evening Post covers, and he also drew illustrations for American classics including the 1936 edition of the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the 1940 edition of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The LRMA exhibition includes the famous doctor's office scene Before the Shot, a 1952 Post cover, as well as renditions of Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence and Huck Finn masquerading as a girl. (left Norman Rockwell, Ben Franklin's Philadelphia, lithograph)

A colorful history of American life, the exhibition features 49 signed and numbered lithographs from the collection of Myrtle and Walter Powers. Walter, a retired professor from Eastern Washington University, developed a love for Rockwell's art when he delivered the Saturday Evening Post as a boy in Waco, Texas.

"Ever since I was a kid, I thought the world of Norman Rockwell illustrations," Powers said. "He had the uncanny ability to depict American life."

The exhibition includes illustrations from Poor Richard's Almanac as well as Rockwell's American Family and School Days portfolios. A snapshot of American life, the works include scenes from family, sports and small-town life.

"The images are nostalgic evocations of an idealized, trouble-free American past," said LRMA Curator Jill Chancey. "Many of the family images focus on the parent-child relationship, particularly the relationship between a father and his children."

The Artist

Norman Rockwell, one of twentieth century America's most loved and respected social commentators and historians, was born February 3, 1894, the dawning of an era of great change. From his first Post cover in 1916 to his 1969 Look Magazine "Apollo 11 Space Team" cover, Rockwell was always there; keenly observing, commenting, precisely recording for future generations every stirring event and prevailing mood in the American scene from the Horse and Buggy Age to the Space Age.

In 1943, Rockwell's studio caught fire and destroyed many of his original oils, which he had painted for books, magazines, and advertisements. In the late 1960's he was urged to reproduce some of his earlier works as lithographs. The fifty-signed original lithographs in this exhibition resulted from this act. They represent the artist's unique perspective on culture and history in America.

Included in this exhibit is "The Spelling Bee", reported to be the first lithograph ever executed by Rockwell. Other signed lithographs include well known Saturday Evening Post covers as Before the Shot, The Ticket Seller, See America First, and Dreams of Long Ago.

Several portfolios are featured in this exhibit including illustrations from the 1936 edition of Tom Sawyer and the 1940 edition of Huckleberry Finn. Other portfolios featured in this exhibit are Poor Richard's Almanack, the American Family, and the School Days portfolios.

Professor Emeritus Walt Powers and his wife, Myrt, for years have treasured their Norman Rockwell artwork. Now their valuable collection of limited edition lithographs are going on the road.

To create these lithographs, the images of Rockwell's original paintings and drawings were transferred to plates and stones. The painstaking process was personally supervised by Mr. Rockwell resulting in a limited edition, which he signed and numbered. (left Norman Rockwell, Study, lithograph)


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