"EXCUSE MY DUST"
Artist: Norman Rockwell
Painted for the July 31 1920 issue of the Saturday Evening Post
Find out more
about the tour,
Norman Rockwell: Pictures for
the American People, at
family (seen here as everyday folks: Mom, Pop and their boy) is
pitted against the anonymous, rich elite (represented only by
the hood of an expensive, shiny car) in a race to the top of the
the delineator of the American scene during the second and third
quarter of the 20th century, painted this picture for the cover
of the very popular weekly magazine. His first cover for the Saturday
Evening Post was produced in 1916 when he was 22. The commission
was then considered to be the pinnacle of achievement for an illustrator.
Over the next 47 years, Rockwell produced 321 covers for the Post.
Each of his painted scenes caught the sprit of America and illuminated
the core of an easily understood situation.
Here, he depicts
what appears to be a spur-of-the-moment car race between a dilapidated
Model "T" roadster and an expensive, possibly European, luxury
automobile. Improbably, the Model "T" is winning! World War I
was over and Americans were full of themselves. Perhaps this image
is a realization of the point-of-view that America was speeding
ahead of tired, old Europe.
Good Ol' American
family values are accented in the image. Father leads the way
leaning aggressively forward. Mother gives quiet support while
admiring her offspring who is totally unrestrained in his delight
at besting the expensive, fancy car that even has something like
a tired, old imperial eagle as a hood ornament.
deny that Norman Rockwell possessed wonderful technical skill.
But is his work art? For years the art community looked down at
what were considered merely illustrations. Today, his work is
being reevaluated. A major exhibition of the work of Norman Rockwell
is being exhibited at art museums across the country. Organized
by Atlanta's High Museum of Art with The Norman Rockwell Museum,
the exhibition will end up at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
in New York City in 2002.