A Norman Rockwell Spring

Who better to greet springtime than Norman Rockwell? In springtime, the artist's fancy often turned to the whimsical. Dancing critters? Oh my!

Springtime, 1927 by Norman Rockwell, April 16, 1927
Springtime, 1927
by Norman Rockwell
April 16, 1927

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The temps may still be chilly, the sky dreary … but hey, honey – Look! Rockwell’s eye for detail was costly. He couldn’t find a budding crocus, the little flowers being the stubborn things they are. Greenhouses for miles around proved, er, infertile ground. Finally, he called a swanky New York florist who specialized in out-of-season flowers. In 1947, gasoline was 23 cents a gallon and a loaf of bread was 12 cents, a postage stamp 3 cents, and Rockwell’s special delivery from the florist: $15.50. The price of art.

First Crocus by Norman Rockwell, March 22, 1947
First Flower or First Crocus
Norman Rockwell
March 22, 1947

Many, many artists copied Rockwell. Although the boy and dog in this cover below are “all Rockwell.” The fanciful spring fairy was Rockwell copying the style of Maxfield Parrish. A boy kissed by the first warm day of spring? Works for us.

Springtime 1933 by Norman Rockwell, April 8, 1933
Springtime 1933
by Norman Rockwell
April 8, 1933

An elementary school teacher once emailed us about this painting. She had her children making up stories about the cover, which we thought a wonderful idea, but they wanted the real story. Many folks don’t understand that the cover had nothing to do with an interior story, they were just works of art. And Rockwell, with his delightful imagination, thought it would be fun to have a sunny young lady greet a portly scarecrow on a spring walk.

The Scarecrow by Norman Rockwell, April 25, 1936
The Scarecrow
by Norman Rockwell
April 25, 1936

Communing not only with bunnies, but geese, turtles, squirrels, and frogs is this youngster from 1927. We’re not sure where he acquired his musical gift, but we believe Rockwell got his sense of whimsy from illustrating for children’s publications such as Boys’ Life. [Editor’s note: Read more about this cover in “A Fruitful Relationship,” by Abigail Rockwell.]

Springtime, 1927 by Norman Rockwell, April 16, 1927
Springtime, 1927
by Norman Rockwell
April 16, 1927

It’s almost the last day of school, and the bunnies are out and about. This charming 1935 cover says it all: Springtime! Sometimes criticized for not showing the stark realism of childhood in the cities, Rockwell preferred the fanciful.

Springtime, 1935 by Norman Rockwell, April 27, 1935
Springtime, 1935
by Norman Rockwell
April 27, 1935

All of the spring covers shown here are available in reprints at: Art.com.

More spring cover galleries:
Spring Covers: A Perenial Favorite
Classic Covers: A Hint of Spring

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  1. What a beautiful feature this Norman Rockwell Spring is, in this 100th Anniversary Spring of his first POST cover ever. All of these selections show Rockwell’s diversity in style, technique and more.

    I’m happy getting a chance to comment on one of Ms. Denny’s features, once again, just like so many several years ago. Diana, I always loved your insights, humor and warmth you put into all your online features while with the POST and hope you’re doing well. Hopefully you’ll see this feature again. Bob says hi and sends you a big hug from Northwest Los Angeles!


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