Over the course of his nearly 75 year career, Norman Rockwell continually revealed his unparalleled ability to express the spirit of American culture.
Over the course of his nearly 75 year career, Norman Rockwell continually revealed his unparalleled ability to express the spirit of American culture through the beloved paintings he created for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Many of these humorous, idealistic and relatable images have become truly iconic, integrated into the country’s idea of itself and its history. Though a generation of Americans all likely have their own favorite Rockwell, Shuffleton’s Barbershop, the subtly enigmatic work he created for the April 29, 1950 cover of The Post, is undoubtedly among his masterpieces. Executed at the height of the artist’s career, Shuffleton’s Barbershop represents the very best of Norman Rockwell: a technical tour-de-force that demonstrates the continuing power and resonance of the artist’s distinctive vision of American life.
Even today, Rockwell’s rendering of the present work immediately transports us into his imagination: we see the scene he presents and we are there, stopped in our tracks on our way home to peer in through the cracked plate glass window of the local barbershop. Long since closed to customers, the darkened shop is illuminated only with the golden light that bathes the trio of musicians playing in the back room, unaware of our presence. Though we catch only a glimpse of their activity, like the cat who sits inside we stand transfixed, momentarily enchanted by the music, which we cannot hear but know is there, wending its way out of this private space and into the night air.
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