In my junior and senior high school years at Amsterdam New York,
I excelled in all types of art work. As a youngster, I subscribed
to Boys Life magazine which was illustrated by Norman Rockwell
and other artists. When I was a very young boy, my brother and
I sold and delivered over 250 magazines weekly. Naturally, I
was aware of Norman Rockwell's skills at a very early age.
- After graduation from high school, I was offered an art scholarship
to Syracuse University which I could not afford to attend. Instead,
at seventeen, I went to Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York and
majored in art in 1937. Since I was in the New York City area,
I attended many exhibits in the art field. The Society of Illustrators
annual exhibition had a drawing to have your work criticized
by Norman Rockwell. I was one of the lucky ones to receive Rockwell
criticism at his studio in New Rochelle, New York.
- I traveled by train to the Crestwood Railroad Station Tuesday,
May 18th 1937. Driven by one of his staff to his New Rochelle
studio, I lunched with Rockwell and several of his staff. They
were artists redrawing Saturday Evening Post 17x22" black
and white sketches to larger oil canvases for the final paintings
in full oil colors. They did background and other work before
Norman Rockwell did his artistic oil work on the illustrations.
Norman had many little sketches in full color for different parts
of the illustration for reference. It was very time consuming
work to get it all done right and in time for each weekly cover.
The day I was in his studio no live models were around. His criticism
of my work that day resulted in my not becoming an illustrator
but a good commercial artist. He was correct... because that
is what I ended up doing... commercial art.
- I said to him that no one will know I had been to visit him
that day. He said he would remedy that by going to the wall file
and pulling out a Saturday Evening Post cover sketch. He asked
if I wanted it and I said "yes". He signed it and also
signed the letter I had that showed me how to get to his studio.
At the young age of seventeen I put the drawing and the letter
in a container tube for safe keeping. It stayed in the tube for
- I started my career working in New York City for many various
outfits in the art field in 1938. I could only afford one year
at Pratt Institute. Working during the day I attended art courses
at night to expand my skills. In rounding out my career I worked
for advertising agencies, magazine publishers, radio broadcasting
firms, printing firms, map making firms, etc.
- I finally started my own advertising agency in Mount Vernon,
New York. One of my volunteer jobs was doing public relations
promotion for the Salvation Army of Westchester. I did this for
about fifteen years. Each year the Salvation Army had a lunch
or dinner honoring the Westchester volunteers. One affair was
in New York City at a well known hotel. On the second floor of
the hotel was a narrow room near the affair which had an exhibit
of Norman Rockwell's work. It was guarded by a security guard.
I asked him why it was guarded. He said that they were insured
for thousands of dollars.
- Norman Rockwell did many things to help the Salvation Army
raise funds for their important work. After the affair, I went
home and took down the Rockwell sketch from the ceiling in the
cellar and put it on my kitchen table to dust it off. The next
day I took it to my art framer to have it mounted and framed.
- In those days, his sketches were on Kraft paper in charcoal,
easily smudged if not handled correctly. The Kraft paper was
so old and dried out that he only wet mounted it on heavy board
paper after I told him it was not his responsibility if it was
ruined in mounting. It took many weeks for it to dry out, ready
for framing. It was framed with non-glare glass for protection.
- The subject was the Saturday Evening Post cover "The
Bill Board Painter"... February 9... 1935. I took the framed
sketch to a Bronxville estate outfit for appraisal. It was appraised
for $1500 dollars.
- New Rochelle had an exhibit of Rockwell's work at the public
library from May 2 through May 10. Saturday, May 2, they had
a dinner for exhibitors and friends. My Rockwell charcoal sketch
was on display with many other works of Rockwell. I could not
attend the dinner, but my young daughter took my place. She stood
by my sketch and explained how I got it to people who asked.
Eve met many of the models who posed for the original cover paintings.
It was a wonderful time for her.
- The library discovered four paintings by Norman Rockwell
buried in a corner of the library storage cellar. They were also
on display at the exhibit. I heard later that they were sold
for about $40,000.
- After the exhibit I was offered $3000 for my sketch. The
following year, the person offered $4000 for it. Years later
on advice from a friend, I took the framed drawing to New York
City for appraisal at at a buyer and seller of Rockwell original
art. It was appraised for $25,000. It is now stored away in a
very safe place.