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I Know That Face!

Published: January 16, 2010

Here’s a test for Rockwell fans, do you recognize this man?

Norman Rockwell must have been captivated by the looks of James K. Van Brunt the day he showed up in Rockwell’s studio, pronouncing himself as a bold veteran of Fredericksburg and brave fighter of Indians forces. Standing 5 feet, 2 inches tall with a craggy face, knobby nose, and distinctive mustache, Van Brunt became one of Rockwell’s favorite models—posing for numerous covers. So many, in fact, that Post editors began to complain.

Rockwell eventually told Van Brunt he would no longer be able to use him as a model unless he shaved his mustache. He refused, then returned a couple weeks later and said he would do it for $10, which Rockwell paid. “I guess the notoriety he’d gained from posing for me had overcome his pride in his mustache,” said Rockwell. The result can be seen in The Old Sign Painter from February 6, 1926.

Do you recognize Van Brunt in the following covers?

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  • John W. Hull

    I love the covers. I sold the post door to door in the 1930’s and did very well.