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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rockwell's Riveting Rosie.

A recent blog post by a friend of mine blogging as Flannery O' Kafka  posted an image of J. Howard Miller's Rosie the Riveter (1942) remade in jellybeans by a contemporary artist.  This reminded me of the other Rosie I love by Norman Rockwell done a year later in 1943.  Rockwell was in his own class as an illustrator, and this is a great example.  

With a little research I was simply giddy to discover that this piece is in the permanent collection of the upcoming Crystal Bridges Museum, scheduled to open this November in Bentonville, Arkansas!  The museum will house one of the largest collections of American art in the world.  I actually feel some kind of beetle-mania, and have to suppress a scream when I think about it.

 Rockwell's beefier Rosie portrayed here as a 1940's begoggled punk rocker (down to the buttons!), slings a riveter across her lap like a pieta.  The "S" curve originating in the stars of the upper left corner runs straight through the bicep down through the busted old power cord, making her feel monumental.  Even the meat on the sandwich dances and her flexors and brachioradialis are to die for.

To top it off this is one of the most beautiful heads I've ever seen.  Tough as a jackhammer and yet so delicate and charming.

File:We Can Do It!.jpg

J. Howard Miller's Rosie.  Not bad but probably improved with jelly beans.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see someone else defending Rockwell (of course we're not the only two, though). A lot of people seem to equate him with the likes of Thomas Kinkade (I know Rockwell & Kinkade are much different styles, and I'm sure there's a Thomas Kinkade of illustration out there who would be a more accurate example here, but alas, I don't know who that would be...), but Rockwell's work is so much more alive and visceral. Always loved Rosie, too. Great thoughts on the topic, Steve.