There is a wonderful article in Vanity Fair this month about Norman Rockwell, and in particular about how he set up the compositions for his paintings. He photographed his subjects first, and now there is an extensive collection of his photographs, which I think would be as interesting to see as his paintings.
This is one of my favorite Rockwell paintings. The little girl is comparing herself unfavorably to the actress Jane Russell, whom she sees as beautiful and glamorous. But the viewer can see that the little girl will be far more beautiful when she is grown up. I like this picture because the little girl reminds me very much of Marigold.
Most people are familiar with "The Gossip". Rockwell used friends and family members as subjects for his paintings, and you can see the same folks throughout many of his works. I have never been a huge fan of Norman Rockwell's art. He really was more of an illustrator than an artist, but as an illustrator, no would could outshine him. He created images that today are referred to as "Rockwellian" or "kitschy", because they seemed to reflect a perfect way of life that perhaps did not really exist. But if you look closely at his paintings, you can also see images of reality. In his painting "Saying Grace", if you look through the curtains covering the diner window, you can see the diner is located in an industrial area.
Photography is very much a form of art, and I think it would be interesting to see Rockwell's photographs. Somehow they would give a whole new dimension to his paintings.