Monday, December 6, 2010

Stockbridge at Christmas

Norman Rockwell, anyone?  This late, great artist of Americana spent the end of his career and life in Stockbridge, a bucolic little burg in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.  He is known for painting everyday scenes of American life, including families, the military, lovers, and animals, all going about their day to day lives.  But his artistic interpretation coupled with some flair and whimsy made him one of America's most beloved painters.

Rockwell's most famous painting is a Christmas scene that appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1967.  He actually began painting the scene, called "Stockbridge at Christmas" in 1958 and put it away.  When rushed to meet a magazine deadline almost a decade later, he pulled the picture from his storage area, added some snow and some mountains and sent it in to the editors.  They loved it and put it on the cover of their Christmas issue.

The residents of Stockbridge know they have a good thing going.  Their town still looks the very same as it did in 1967, and for the past 21 years, they have been creating the scene in the painting on the first Sunday in December, closing down the street, and selling tickets.  Thousands of people flock there to spend an hour or so walking down the middle of Main Street, taking photos, and imagining they have stepped back in time.

A visit to Stockbridge is something I do every year.  It just makes me feel good.  So, one of the items on my bucket list was to go there during their Stockbridge at Christmas celebration.  Since I have been visiting the Newlyweds this past week, and they only live three hours from the Berkshires, it was the perfect time to make the trip.  The atmosphere wasn't quite the same when you take the scene and toss in all of the visitors taking pictures, but with the carolers, vintage cars, historic buildings, and horse-drawn wagon, it was a good interpretation.

What is your favorite Norman Rockwell painting?  Respond in the comments box below.  Remember, I will be giving away a prize at the end of this week to one of my followers or commenters.

Reprint of the Stockbridge at Christmas painting taken from Google images.

1 comment:

  1. I have a favorite! Unfortunately, I can't remember the title of my very favorite Rockwell, but I'll try to describe it. As I remember, the first frame shows an excited, happy family and dog. Dad is driving, and the family is off for vacation, maybe? The last frame is so typical of an exhausted family coming home from the trip. Dad "has had it" and is slumped over the wheel. Even the dog looks worn out. I love it! Anyone remember the title?

    My second choice is "Sunset." It is a precious picture of young love--boy with his arm around his sweetheart, both watching the sunset.

    I love most of Rockwell's work, but these are two of my very favorite pieces.