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Flirting With Norman Rockwell

Published: February 4, 2011

Rockwell loved flirts. He must have, because he painted enough of them. Our flirtatious folks span the decades from 1917 to 1960 – an incredible forty-three years of chronicling people giving other people the eye. Happy Valentine’s Day, Norman!

In Fellowship Lies Friendship

"In Fellowship Lies Friendship" by Norman Rockwell

In Fellowship Lies Friendship
Norman Rockwell
August 27, 1960

The name of this painting is the motto of the University Club of New York: “In Fellowship Lies Friendship”. The gentlemen inside the club seem less interested in the fellowship within than the “friendship” outside the window. If you look closely, you’ll see in the lower left-hand of the cover a distinguished gentleman with his ever-present pipe walking alongside his real-life daughter-in-law. Mr. Rockwell, we presume. Like Alfred Hitchcock in his films, the artist sometimes made a cameo appearance in his own paintings.

The Window Washer

"The Window Washer" by Norman Rockwell

The Window Washer
Norman Rockwell
September 17, 1960

What a fun cover! As in the last cover, rather than average folks, Rockwell seems to have suddenly discovered lovely young ladies. “Without shapely young ladies to admire,” Rockwell said, “the only thing left to look at would be flowers and trees.” Well, a guy can paint only so many flowers and trees. The handsome young window washer is brazenly winking at the pretty secretary, and Mr. Boss Man is, thankfully, oblivious. Actually, the artist originally “had a very prim girl looking shocked, but the idea of youth calling to youth worked out more effectively.” We agree. Like the previous cover, this one is from 1960.

After School

"After School" by Norman Rockwell

After School
Norman Rockwell
October 27, 1917

Having to write “Knowledge is Power” a hundred times on the blackboard for some misdeed, the detainee is gleaning a little unintended knowledge. This is important because the life of the unmarried schoolmistress in 1917 would have been closely guarded, and any hint of scandal costly. But catch the look in her eyes. Even the child can tell she’s a goner!

Serenade

"Serenade" by Norman Rockwell

Serenade
Norman Rockwell
September 22, 1928

Rockwell liked his models in well-worn attire, but this couple was allowed to pose in their Sunday best. The Bard of Avon watches the action, while rather irreverently being used as a hat rack. Note the lighting from a nearby, but unseen lamppost. This cover is from 1928. Perhaps he is singing that year’s popular, “I Want to Be Loved by You”. She seems to be giving it some serious thought.

The Flirts

"The Flirts" by Norman Rockwell

The Flirts
Norman Rockwell
July 26, 1941

What happens when a couple of guys driving a truck stop at a stoplight beside a beautiful blonde in a convertible? Love at first sight, of course. She loves me…not. She isn’t giving them the time of day. Note how Rockwell did the masthead and the fact that this is the first cover where he didn’t sign his name – just his initials. This is from 1941.

Milkmaid

"Milkmaid" by Norman Rockwell

Milkmaid
Norman Rockwell
July 25, 1931

Oh, my, was flirting allowed in colonial times? Well, when a handsome young lad meets a pretty milkmaid on a bridge, perhaps there was a toll kiss in order to proceed. As we’ve stated before, Rockwell loved costumes and painting them. Note the girl tip-toeing for her kiss. This is from 1931.

Questions on Saturday Evening Post covers can be directed to Diana at d.denny@satevepost.org or by commenting below. We love your feedback!

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  • Wade Joseph Habshey

    Oops, I should have caught that. Thanks for the heads up, Daved!

    Wade Joseph Habshey
    Web Design Associate

  • Daved Sanders

    Great pictures. Oh, the typo in line 3 of The Milkmaid – “there was a” x 2!

  • Frank James Davis

    Great selection of covers; delightful depictions–a most wholesome group of flirts!

  • Sandra

    enjoyable, thanks!

  • Bob McGowan

    I want to thank Diana for choosing these 6 Rockwell masterpieces to share with the Post’s weekly ‘on-line magazine’. No doubt Mr. Rockwell would be pleased too. He might think seeing the Post on a computer screen strange at first, but I think he’d adjust quite well. He’d certainly be pleased the magazine is still around in print form. He’d also realize how complicated (and awkward) just being able to board a plane has gotten from the LATEST cover!

  • robert berridge

    Thank you Diana – these were wonderful!