Richard A. Herman
Norman Rockwell [“American Enigma,” October 2013] had all the technical tools: He was a fine draftsman, a good painter, a good colorist and his compositions were always solid. What his paintings did not possess is truth. It is telling that this chronicler of small-town life spent his first 20 years in New York City and the next 20 in the tony NYC suburb of New Rochelle. Everything Rockwell knew about country living came second or third-hand. He recycled things Americans already knew in a way that could instantly register on a magazine rack. Basically, his paintings are finely rendered cartoons.
Los Angeles, California
Commercial artists never get respect. I always enjoyed the humor and simpleness of Rockwell’s art. If some people complain that normal people did not live like those he depicted, they probably also complain about the sea not looking as blue or clouds as fluffy or skin as unblemished in works by other artists. Rockwell’s paintings tell more of what he saw, or wanted to see, about the American way of life.
“Seeing Zapruder” [October 2013] said President Kennedy was riding in a black limousine when he was assassinated; in fact, the vehicle was midnight blue (it was later painted black). The actor Tom Hanks does not star in Parkland, about the assassination; he is one of the movie’s producers. Our review of a biography of Red Cloud mistakenly said the Sioux warrior in 1867 was the last Indian to defeat the U.S. Army; other defeats would follow, notably Little Big Horn in 1876.