Illustrations by Norman Rockwell

    Norman Rockwell was born in 1894 in on the upper west side of Manhattan. His career began with illustrations for children's books and magazines, but during the 1920s his covers for popular periodicals like The Saturday Evening Post had made him one of the country's best known artists. By 1935, when the Heritage Press commissioned him to do the artwork for their deluxe editions of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, he was widely beloved for his depictions of what a World Book encylopedia article calls "the people who live in everybody's home town," barefoot boys in particular.

    For each MT novel Rockwell created 8 oil paintings which were tipped in as full-page illustrations, and a set of charcoal drawings used as chapter headings. Below are two of his Tom Saywer illustrations. His representation of the fence Tom manages to have whitewashed, COMPARED WITH THE ACTUAL FENCE, shows that for this picture, at least, Rockwell used a photograph to create an impression of realism. But as a whole his paintings emerge from the same psychology of nostalgia as Twain's text: "Injun Joe" remains invisible; only a total of three adults appear in them; work, and even a whipping, seem like child's play.

Click on either image to enlarge.

    Rockwell's Tom Sawyer paintings are now part of the permanent exhibit at Hannibal's "Mark Twain Boyhood Home." That display does not include the paintings he did for Huck Finn, which are a bit grittier, and include one of Pap and another of the King at his most hypocritical. You can see his two DRAWINGS OF JIM in the HUCKLEBERRY FINN section of the archive.

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