Rockwell Video Minute: Portraits of Presidents

Over the years, Norman Rockwell painted many striking portraits of presidents and presidential candidates. This video highlights some of his best work.

Portrait of JFK, illustrated by Norman Rockwell
(© SEPS)

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Norman Rockwell spent his share of time in Washington, D.C. painting presidents and presidential candidates. He said, “I am no politician and certainly no statesman. But I have painted thousands of people and I should by now be a judge of what their faces say about what they are.”

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  1. This video gives further insight into several Presidents and candidates, as well the ease and difficulties they posed (no pun intended) for Rockwell. It seems Eisenhower, Kennedy and Barry Goldwater were the most pleasant to paint. Hubert Humphrey and Bobby Kennedy (later) I’m sure were too.

    I’m sorry LBJ was so gruff, rude and frankly disrespectful of Rockwell, but unfortunately not too shocked or surprised. He seemed to have a taste for the distasteful in general. The only ‘problems’ with Nixon were fixed by a few subtle tricks up Rockwell’s sleeve. No, the only other President I can think of that would likely be as rude as Johnson is currently current.

    So now we get to Rockwell’s years at LOOK magazine. I would love to see more of his works that enriched their magazine during its last several years. Social unrest, Presidential candidates, astronauts and more. He did a beautiful cover of the Peace Corps, with JFK blending in with about 7 other people. I hope the Post can somehow acquire these works of art that were mainly on the inside; not their covers, and feature them in a future video.

    It’s been a long time, but that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be all kinds of legalities and red tape to go through. It’s worth looking into to find out. If I were the judge, I’d rule in your favor for acquisition of the art per your 103 year relationship with Rockwell, and that is what the Post’s owners and readers want. Since LOOK is gone for good, it’s time these less familiar works were returned to their familiar home at long last, and become all new, all over again.


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