April 09, 2016

Admen Famous Well Past 15 Minutes

Marilyn by Andy 1962

The two most famous American Artists of the 20th Century are Andy Warhol & Norman Rockwell.
Andrew Warhola was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928 to 2nd generation Polish Catholic immigrants. Andy's father was a coalminer. Andy moved to New York City and became a commercial artist and illustrator. What I found odd is that Andy very famously did a portrait of nearly everybody whose fame went beyond 15 minutes but I don't think he ever did Frank Sinatra...I wonder what prompted this glaring omission?

Andy Selfie

                                                             The future Mrs. Larry Fortensky

The Den loves this one.

Andy did magazine covers too.

I almost forgot Uncle L helped bring this to big screen.

Ironically, it was New York City born Norman Rockwell who became famous for depicting small town America.  His father was a textile executive. Rockwell built his enormous fame in America by illustrating The Saturday Evening Post, which had a circulation of over 6 million and a readership of at least 10 times that figure as the magazine was in every barbershop, beauty parlor, and dentist's office in America. Over 47 years, Rockwell illustrated 323 Saturday Evening Post covers.

Norman Rockwell Selfie

Gramps at the Plate

From 1964 during the Civil Rights movement. An iconic image from that era.

Saying Grace above sold for $46 million back in 2013 as Hedgies are starting to see Rockwell as a prime 'Asset Class'.

  This last one is actually by Stevan Dohanos not Rockwell, from the August 20, 1949 SEP cover. He lived next door to my grandparents. That's my father with the towel around his neck, my grandmother Dodie at the wheel and Auntie J and Uncle S in backseat.


  1. Wow! I'm impressed---The Whole Family On the POST, and that other little Blondie so reflective of the one to come, with a sea-horse replacing Teddy.

    My favorite of the above will always be the Gossip-Chain, with all their impish delight and shock and offended sensibilities reflected full circle. I'll wager that Madge at first and last was both indignant and repentant.

    ONION soup is just not RIGHT, somehow, and I've always thought that Warhol should cast his visage in bronze, with a doorknocker-ring between his teeth---his face is as timeless as a sphinx, and forever immobile and BLANK to me, like a disappointed theatre mask.

    We had SNOW this morning---not a killing frosty one, to scourge the baby-ears of leaves and shoots, but a REAL Snowglobe experience, with flleeting grains small as salt swirling round the castle. Odd, and so much for planting the garden after Good Friday. Stay warm and well, faraway friend.


    1. Hi Rachel,
      One day I'd like to do a long form essay contrasting Warhol & Rockwell as Warhol created a context to view his Art and Rockwell just depicted everyday American life in ways that so many people immediately identified and connected with. Both Artists represent a very Gatz/Gatsbyesque story what Warhol & Gatz fleeing from Rockwell's America from and re-inventing themselves.

      The Gossip Chain is brilliant!

      My late Aunt Connie collected Stevan Dohanos and I believe she donated some pieces to the Westport Historical Society. My Uncle L had the original of the above and my Auntie J always chided him as he was the only sibling not in it because he wasn't born yet. Sadly, grandmother Dodie, a great beauty which no doubt was instrumental in her being in this, had a long slow decline into dementia/Alzheimer's and we had to sell the above original to pay for her care.

    2. Oh, what a loss for your family, but what a lasting, telling BRIGHT to the whole history---that one shining moment on a Summer Day, going somewhere wonderful, all smiles and anticipations with those she loved best, and captured with her own youth and beauty, would serve to comfort and sustain her through her end of days. I know that's one of the most cherished memories you all have. Amazing.

      Please add this precious thing to the rest of the story above, or write it separately soon with the picture---your words deserve so much more than a little hidden niche in the "reply" column.

    3. Thank you Rachel. I'll do another post on the backstory of that SNP cover. I really only wanted to introduce our vast international Den readership to Norman Rockwell as he's little known outside of the US while Warhol is universal.

  2. Love that your family is on the cover of a Saturday Evening Post! I like Rockwell's selfie and I do think the Campbell soup can is very well done, it's funny to think that we all have Andy's art in our cupboards. x

    1. Rockwell is starting to get renewed respect from those who look at Art as an "asset class". His 'Saying Grace' sold for $46 million. I need to research how the original designer of the Campbell Soup can was or was not compensated...if not, quite a shame!

  3. Jill, I couldn't find any info regarding who was the original designer of the iconic Campbell soup cans but did get reminded that Campbell's did a special Warhol silk-screen packaging on their cans a few years back.
    Also, I've added a few images and text to the original post to include 'Saying Grace' by Rockwell.

  4. My first post and became interested in your blog via Faux Fuschia, so you are correct to assume that I am Australian and from Sydney. I very much enjoy your posts and have to comment on your lead in statement re the two most famous American artists. Just after Easter I travelled to Melbourne for the Andy Warhol - Ai WeiWei exhibition. First time these two great artists have been curated together and the exhibition will travel to Pittsburgh. Also in Melbourne, for some reason on loan from the d'Orsay, was Arrangement in Gray and Black No1, commonly known as Whistler's Mother - an iconic painting probably as well known and appropriated as American Gothic. Personally, I would have to say that Whistler and Hopper are more known outside the US than Rockwell (who I did not know but recognised the works), however probably the most significant and well known except for Andy Warhol would be Jackson Pollock. I am moving to Washington DC very soon and plan to visit as many large galleries in the US as I can, and there are so many, so looking forward to exploring American art and culture.

    1. Whistler is obviously not 20th Century and probably spurious to mention him. However it was fascinating that the picture was in Melbourne, not part of an exhibition as such. A great painting in execution, design and colour. Yvonne

    2. Welcome Yvonne! I have always felt a special kinship with Aussie's who I think of in the same robust adventuresome spirit as our Texans. Yes, I do know Rockwell isn't widely known outside US but his work more so as you say and someday do want to give a more elaborate take on both he and Warhol.
      Such a coincidence you mention Whistler's Mother as I have a coffee table book with her on it and only 2 hours ago was listening (audiobook) to the enchanting Josephine Tey novel 'The Franchise Affair' when a fascinating central character was described as looking like 'Whistler's Mother'.

  5. Your dad with the towel around his neck- amazing!