For Christmas of 1956, Rockwell captured a moment of truth in a young boy’s life. While snooping in his parent’s bedroom, he comes across a familiar suit and puts two and two together. The result is an expression of shock and disillusionment that Rockwell made so vivid, you can feel it rising from the page.
But Rockwell wasn’t content to present just a comic scene. He filled the frame with details to build atmosphere and reward close attention.
Note how he captured the wood grain of the dresser — the nicks, dings, and stains that make a piece of furniture almost a member of the family. Then there’s the twine that secured the box with Dad’s suit and beard and the mothballs that have rolled across the carpet. Rockwell even went to the effort of including the open door through which junior snuck in, the stair rails beyond, even a glimpse of the house next door — details only a dedicated artist would include.
Rockwell’s model, Scott Ingram, became a minor celebrity for his expression of wide-eyed surprise. Being the figure on a Rockwell cover, he said, changed his life. He received fan mail, and was asked to autograph pictures and books. He even appeared on TV with Rockwell on the Hallmark Hall of Fame. He fondly remembered the milkshakes he received at the end of each session.
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