“The Saturday Evening Post brand is one of the most recognizable brands in the country and Norman Rockwell [is] certainly one of the most recognizable artists. Out of the 30 pieces in the show, there are three by Norman Rockwell,” Booth Executive Director Seth Hopkins said, referring to “Saying Grace,” “Vote for Casey (Elect Casey)” and “Home Plate (Construction Crew).” “So I think people will be very excited to get to come and get to see those. And this is the first show that we’ve done that’s really not significantly Western.
“It’s more of a general American art or Americana show. And we think that that is going to draw people as well, people who aren’t necessarily overly excited about things that are Western. We’re in our 10th year. I think we’ve firmly established that we’re primarily interested in Western themes and Western art and this is an opportunity to branch out a little bit and do something a little different.”
Along with Rockwell, “Covering America: The Saturday Evening Post in the 1950’s and early 1960’s” also will feature the work of other illustrators, some of whom include John Clymer, Stevan Dohanos, John Falter, George Hughes, Amos Sewell, Richard Sargent, Mead Schaeffer and Thornton Utz. In addition to highlighting various illustrators, the covers also will showcase a wide range of subjects, from parenthood to vacationing families.
“[Rockwell’s] covers and his illustrations are by far the most popular of all of those that have ever appeared, not only in The Saturday Evening Post but on any magazine covers in any period of American history,” Hopkins said. “He is the only one who seems to have been able to transcend the idea that it’s just illustration to becoming recognized as a fine artist at least in a major way. And certainly he’s a favorite of the public. That’s the name that they all recognize. So it’s a bit of a balancing act for us. We have to be careful in promoting this as a Saturday Evening Post cover show and not a Rockwell show.
“Certainly we’re glad that 10 percent of the show is by Rockwell and those are great to see but it gives us an opportunity to focus on some of the other great artists who also did cover work and, in several cases artists who, did more covers than Rockwell. They were doing 52 covers a year and Rockwell probably could only do maybe one a month or so ... if you go back and look at the records. So there were a lot of other artists doing them. At the time [Rockwell] started ... he was just one of a cadre of illustrators who were doing this work. So it only became later that he became the giant that we know today.”
Tying the special exhibit into the museum’s Western theme, the presentation also will include pieces from the Booth’s permanent collection.
“We never want to get so far out there that we’re not related to the permanent collection,” Hopkins said. “In general a large percentage of the artists in the permanent collection did start out their careers as illustrators and in the exhibition particularly John Clymer and John Falter, both represented in the exhibition [and] are in our permanent collection, went on to become very famous Western artists later in their career.
“... We are bringing another little Western wrinkle into it as well with pulling three or four paintings from our permanent collection that were not cover paintings but were used in The Saturday Evening Post. They were illustrations for articles that were inside the magazine and we are featuring those along with a number of just the covers — not the original paintings that go with them — that were Western subjects on the Post covers and that’s kind of an exhibit within an exhibit.”
On the exhibit’s opening day, refreshments will be served in the ballroom from 5 to 7 p.m., immediately followed by a lecture in the Booth Theatre by The Saturday Evening Post President and Publisher Joan SerVaas.
“Joan SerVaas will be joining us on Saturday evening for our exhibit opening and evening lecture for ‘Covering America: [The] Saturday Evening Post’ exhibit and in doing so that’s going to tie in that personal connection to The Saturday Evening Post as a whole,” said Tom Shinall, director of marketing for the Booth museum. “As publisher of the Post, she will be giving history insight into [the] pieces [that] are part of the collection ... and then also just about what the Post is as a whole.
“So being able to tie all of that in together will kind of give a better understanding about this exhibit, the pieces in this exhibit and what they mean to not only us and this exhibit but also to the Post and the [The Saturday Evening Post] Society.”
Regular admission fees will apply for the evening lecture. For more information about the Booth — 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville — and its programs, call 770-387-1300 or visit www.boothmuseum.org.