26”H X 20½”W X 28¼”D • 135 LBS
January 11, 1966 Look Magazine featured a work Rockwell painted entitled Picasso vs. Sargent. We see a gallery with a painting by John Singer Sargent on one wall and a painting by Picasso on the other. Sargent’s portrait of Mrs. George Swinton was done in 1897 whereas Picasso’s painting of Marie Theresa Walter was done in the 1930’s.
Norman Rockwell left the Saturday Evening Post in 1963 and went on to create work for other publications, one of which was LOOK Magazine. The magazine covers he had done for The Saturday Evening Post showed an idealized, nostalgic look of American culture but his style and focus shifted when he left. His work focused more on his concerns and interests of the world around him. He portrayed more scenes of the civil rights movement, social concerns of war and poverty, and modern advancements in art and science.
January 11, 1966 Look Magazine featured this work Rockwell painted entitled Picasso vs. Sargent. We see a gallery wall with a painting by John Singer Sargent on one wall and a painting by Picasso on the other. Sargent’s portrait of Mrs George Swinton was done in 1897 whereas Picasso’s paintings of Marie Theresa Walter were done in the 1930’s. A woman and her young daughter gaze at Sargent’s grand portrait with elaborate gilded framing as a young woman with an artist’s notepad looks at the Picasso painting. A shift in culture and society can be detected in this one painting.
The woman in front of Sargent’s painting has her hair wrapped in rollers covered by a sheer scarf, is wearing her overcoat, nylons, and heels. Her daughter matches her mother with her hair wrapped in curlers, holding her doll, wearing her overcoat and both peer up at this ideal portrayal of grace and beauty from an age long passed. The young woman wears jeans, flat boots, and a black sweater with her leather jacket in hand. Her hair hangs loose around her shoulders and she stands at ease as she looks at Picasso’s cubist take on a woman’s portrait.
Picasso was a major figure for bringing modernism in the art world and was part of a major shift in culture. The 1960’s was also a time for major shifts in culture as civil rights movements, women’s movements, & social norms were all being challenged. Women weren’t following in their mother’s footsteps any longer and focus was shifting from becoming wives and mothers, to getting an education and their own voice in society.
Norman Rockwell’s process for each of his paintings was a very calculated and planned out one. He worked with live models, took photographs, created sketches based on those photographs, made color sketches, then painted the final oil painting with as much meticulous detail as he could. His mastery can be seen in this painting as we see how accurately he was able to paint a copy of Sargent’s work and then turn around a create his own Picasso featuring one of Picasso’s favorite featured subjects, Marie Theresa Walter.