Because I think Norman Rockwell is the best American painter ever…. I love his Americana paintings, his ability to capture, in paint, the movement of life, the trueness that shines through us all.
Oh, Pop. My grandfather is 100 percent responsible for this myth — that he couldn’t draw a sexy woman. He said it many times: “I can’t draw a pretty girl, no matter how much I try. I’m afraid that they all look like old men!” One day my father Thomas, his middle son, asked Pop what he meant, and my grandfather explained that he couldn’t draw bodacious, sexy pin-up girls like Vargas and Petty, or even ideally beautiful women like his friend and fellow Post illustrator Coles Phillips, known for his “fadeaway girl.” (Norman Rockwell loved faces with true character in them — either young faces untouched by artifice or guile, or old faces with inerasable histories etched into them; every wrinkle, a story.)
But even a cursory look at Rockwell’s body of work instantly proves my grandfather wrong — he painted pretty, even sexy, women of all ages. Most surprising, I discovered that Pop had a remarkable skill in painting the beauty and allure of women’s legs, particularly the delicate ankles.