Rockwell Video Minute: Was Rockwell’s Mermaid Cover Obscene?

Readers’ outraged responses to Norman Rockwell’s mermaid cover surprised The Saturday Evening Post editors and Rockwell himself.

Fisherman and Mermaid
(Norman Rockwell, © SEPS)

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  1. Being an artist myself for many years I have to wonder what Adam & Eve wore when God Created us humans. With clothes or no cloths? Im believe the human man Or women are a very beautiful creation & will allways admire this creation.
    sincerly, julio c, henriques artist since 1969

  2. Fisherman looks like just another day, another dollar; “But now, what do I do with this catch? Probably no money in it.”

  3. Get a life! I see worse every night on my family night TV. Ever look at
    the cartoons? Poor little Daisy Mae? What is this World coming to?
    If you don’t like it, turn your head. Move to another Country.
    Mr. Rockwell was a genius when it came to pen and ink.
    Volunteer at a soup kitchen, shovel side walks, do something constructive and leave our freedoms alone! As I said, get a life!

  4. Nudity problem was in the 50’s eye of the beholder. More important is the motive–why did Rockwell paint this beautiful helpless mermaid in a cage, away from her natural environment? A little Puritan shame sent him searching in another town for a model- maybe? Mid-life crisis – maybe?

    Why the indifferent look on the old man–dementia maybe?

  5. Interesting how much societal standards have ‘evolved’. Reckon how much dust might have been raised had 50 shades been screened in 1955?

  6. There’s nothing obscene about it of course, and most people in 1955 felt that way too. At most it was just a touch risque. Yes she was topless, but her breasts were covered by her forearms and hands as well as the cage bars.

    LIFE magazine got itself into much hotter water with their Sept. 16, 1966 cover of Sophia Loren by Alfred Eisenstaedt in a ‘spidered-out’ bikini that caused an uproar, and subscriber cancellations. I need to get that color Xerox framed copy I have of it out of storage again and back up on my wall.

    (Always use Xerox for beautiful copies. Canon is fine for cheap disposable copies/flyers, but that’s about it.)


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