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Ordinary Stuff Highlighted By Two Unique
American Artists

Grandma Moses Painting
A print of a Grandma Moses painting. The people and wagons are all headed for the feast at the farmhouse in the left corner. Typical of her paintings are the rounded hills of western Vermont in the background. You’ll often find her prints in rustic frams, as this one is.

Probably there are no two names better known among American artists than those of Norman Rockwell and Grandma Moses. Their styles of paintings couldn’t be more different, yet what they had in common may be what makes them so enduringly popular: they painted ordinary people doing ordinary things.

There are two museums featuring the two, just a few miles apart in western Massachusetts and western Vermont.

Rockwell Painting
Rockwell Painting
These two paintings were used in successive weeks by The Country Gentleman in 1919. Rockwell’s covers in this magazine for a time followed the antics of four boys - Tubby Doolittle, Rusty Doolittle, Chuck Peterskin and the “city slicker,” Master Reginald Claude Fitzhugh. In the first, the very proper Reginald set out for their fishing trip with his elaborate gear, while Tubby and Rusty brought their fishing sticks. The following week showed the return from the fishing trips - obviously, fishing know-how won out over expensive equipment.

The Norman Rockwell Museum is in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and contains dozens of his original paintings. These include not only some of the best known ones used on the Saturday Evening Post covers, but also many which were used by other magazines such as Country Gentleman and Boy’s Life. There are also a few paintings which were special commissions.

In addition to the paintings by Rockwell himself, the museum

contains several by Harold Pyle, who was one of Rockwell’s early teachers and a large painting by N.C. Wyeth, also a student of Pyle

Finally, the lower level of the museum contains, in chronological order, a complete collection of Post covers.

A sculpture by Rockwell’s son Peter, on the museum grounds.

A separate building on the grounds is Rockwell’s original studio, moved there from downtown Stockbridge, left basically unchanged from when he last used it, complete with paint brushes and a coke bottle. Also there is the “rare Prussian helmet” which he brought back as a treasure from Europe, and which turned out to be a fireman’s helmet.

Rockwell was married three times, and had three sons by his second wife. One of the sons is a sculptor, one a writer and one a painter - artistic talent clearly runs in the family. Several pieces of the sculptor’s work are on the museum grounds.
The museum is a real treat for anyone who enjoys Rockwell’s paintings.

A few miles north of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is Bennington, Vermont. (The states of New England seem very close together for those of us who live in the Northwest.)

In 1943, Rockwell did a series of paintings of four freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear. This is his depiction of “Freedom of Speech.”

The Bennington Museum features the Grandma Moses Gallery. There are about two dozen of her original paintings included, plus a couple of pictures that she made out of yarn.

Grandma Moses frequently cut out figures from magazines and catalogs and traced them for the figures in her paintings.

The museum also included a painting by her father, one by her son, and one by her great-grandson Will Moses, who is especially talented at illustrating books.
Other memorabilia is included in the Grandma Moses gallery, including a delightful photograph of her with Norman Rockwell, who was decorating her 90th birthday cake.

The complete series of Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers is included at the Rockwell museum.

The rest of the museum is well worth seeing, too. It includes an amazing collection of old Bennington pottery; the largest collection of pressed glass goblets imaginable; a room dedicated to the Green Mountain boys who fought the Battle of Bennington in the Revolutionary War; and a “catch-all” room with a variety of other antiques.

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Combine a visit to these museums with a trip to the antique shows that take place in Brimfield three times each year. There’s only a little over 60 miles between Brimfield and Stockbridge. The show ads in this issue will give you the dates and other information.

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