Welcome to Rockwell Land, writes Deborah Solomon, in this wise and spirited biography of the artist who provided America with a defining image of itself. As the star illustrator of The Saturday Evening Post for nearly half a century, Norman Rockwell mingled fact and fiction to capture the we-the-people, communitarian ideals of American democracy. Freckled Boy Scouts and their mutts, sprightly grandmothers, a young man standing up to speak at a town hall meeting, a little black girl named Ruby Bridges walking into an all-white school - here was an America whose citizens seemed to believe in equality and gladness for all. Who was Norman Rockwell? Behind the folksy, pipe-smoking facade lay a surprisingly complex figure-a lonely man all too conscious of his inadequacies. He would eventually be treated by the influential psychotherapist Erik Erikson. In American Mirror, biographer and art critic Deborah Solomon draws on unpublished papers to explore the relationship between Rockwell's anguished creativity and his genius for reflecting American innocence. Brilliantly observed and vividly described, American Mirror explains why Norman Rockwell deserves to be remembered as a master of the first rank.
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