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Classic Covers: Romance is in the Air

Published: February 8, 2013

Wherever there is romance, there are overseers, observers or, to put it bluntly, eavesdroppers.

Overheard Lovers

Saturday Evening Post Cover November 21, 1936


Overheard Lovers
Norman Rockwell
November 21, 1936

Even the most bookish gent can find real life more intriguing than the printed word. This fun but often overlooked 1936 cover is a good example of Norman Rockwell’s droll sensibilty. The set-up was simple: two plain park benches, a disinterested pooch and no background scene to detract from our bookworm’s delightful expression. Rockwell often painted dogs, but it was usually the same spotted mutt that fit in well with his active freckle-faced kids. At one point Post publisher, George Horace Lorimer, asked the artist, “Why do you always use the same mutt in your covers?” Rockwell replied, “I have a good dog and he’s a good model, and I use him because it’s easier.” However, here he used a small, well-dressed breed to go with its rather foppish master.


Fall Gossip Session

Saturday Evening Post Cover from November 7, 1953


Fall Gossip Session
Constantin Alajálov
November 7, 1953

Love is “a condition brought by spring, the glory of autumn, the humidity of summer, winter’s exhilaration or paralysis, and other odd manifestations of nature,” noted Post editors of this 1953 cover. In this quaint autumn painting, artist Constantin Alajálov (1900-1987) focused on three neighbors who seem quite fascinated by a budding romance. A refugee from the Russian Revolution, Alajálov arrived in New York in 1923 and worked his way up painting murals in restaurants to his first New Yorker cover within three years. He painted 73 Post covers from 1945 to 1962.


Eavesdropping on Love

Saturday Evening Post Cover from 8-13-1960


Eavesdropping on Love
Amos Sewell
August 13, 1960


Words of love are in the air, and Post editors speculated they went something like this: “It seems like we’re alone on a desert island. Just you and me and the sun and the surf.” But the lovebirds on Amos Sewell’s 1960 cover have company. “There’s another young couple in the vicinity,” editors noted, “and this mushy discussion positively fractures them.”

The need for cover illustration was waning in the early 1960s, as the Post was going with photographs in order to modernize the magazine’s look. Amos Sewell, who illustrated the first of his 45 covers in 1949, created his final one in 1962. During the ’40s and ’50s, Sewell also produced hundreds of story illustrations for the Post and its sister publication, The Country Gentleman.


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