Greg and I took an afternoon in October to make a trip out to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to the Norman Rockwell Museum. We had just a matter of days left to see the special exhibit there titled “The Unknown Hopper” featuring Edward Hopper’s early work as an illustrator. We were glad we did as we are both fans of Edward Hopper but had had no idea that he started his career as an illustrator.
For me, it was interesting that Hopper found his work as an illustrator constraining and only did it to make ends meet. Once he sold his first “real” art and his career as an artist started to take off, he quit his job and dedicated himself fully to painting what he wanted, when he wanted. He said of his art, “Maybe I am not very human - what I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.”
This is probably Hopper’s most famous painting. It has been imitated over and over again.
Rockwell, on the other hand, is well-known as an illustrator extraordinaire. Today, most Americans are very familiar with his Saturday Evening Post covers even though he died in 1978. Rockwell said, “Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I've always called myself an illustrator. I'm not sure what the difference is. All I know is that whatever type of work I do, I try to give it my very best. Art has been my life.”
My personal favorite Rockwell illustration called The Problem We All Live With shows Ruby Bridges, a six year old African-American girl going into an all-white public school in New Orleans in November of 1960 as she is accompanied by four US Marshalls for her protection. I find this piece to be very moving and heart wrenching. This photo was published in Look magazine in 1964.
I make no judgment here. Two different people, two different ways of looking at art. Art and the admiration of it, after all, are among the most subjective matters on the earth. I’m just glad that these two exceptional talents were able to contribute such beauty and insight to this world.
But I digress from my purpose for posting here today. Today is Good Fences day and I did manage to take a couple of fence photos while we were out in Stockbridge. They may not be art, but they are illustrations of good fences and even though it was a very gloomy, grey day, I tried to give them my best.