I wish I hadn't.
The headline read "The Darker Side of Norman Rockwell" . What? Okay, you youngsters who may have stumbled across this can move on. This is for those of my generation who grew up with Norman Rockwell, The Saturday Evening Post and the covers he illustrated for the iconic magazine. Iconic artist. Iconic cover paintings. Yes, there were such things in the old days. And they meant a lot.
But this! A review of a biography of Rockwell would have him be a man with 'repressed sexuality, fear of women and fascination of manhood.' The author, Deborah Solomon, spent more than a decade coming to these conclusions.
She points out that his paintings featured mostly boys and men and seemed to find sexual connotations in many of his paintings including Rosie the Riveter suggesting what the riveting gun might represent along with the 'pulsating red waves' in the background. Please!
I do not for the life of me understand why anyone would write a book like this. If anyone has a penchant for repressed sexuality I'd suggest it might be the author. I'll borrow from Hillary Clinton and ask what difference does it make now? The man himself is long gone though his work will forever remain embedded in memory. Why demean him or it with twisted interpretation?
He no doubt had his personal demons during his long and productive life. Haven't we all? To speculate just what they were and than to publish this speculations seems to me to be in the poorest of taste and of no necessity.
Sensationalism sells. Especially this day and age. But I'll tell you something about Norman Rockwell. He didn't need sensationalism to sell his work. The patriotism of it, the warmth and humor of it and the truth of it is what sold.
Why tear down a man who to many of us portrayed the epitome of what was best about our country? What pleasure could there possibly be in doing so? I think perhaps the author is more in need of some psychiatric help than Rockwell ever was if his work was indeed a refection of the inner man.
It is said seeing is believing. I'll take Rockwell's work at face value of what I see rather than seeking out meaning that isn't obvious, if even present.