Norman Rockwell (1894 1978): Picasso vs. Sargent, 1966, Oil

Norman Rockwell (1894 1978): Picasso vs. Sargent, 1966, Oil

6/16/2021, 3:26:19 PM
Norman Rockwell (1894 1978): Picasso vs. Sargent, 1966, Oil on canvas, 23 x17 in., Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts . . Norman Rockwell's 'Picasso vs. Sargent' is an illustration appeared in Look magazine on January 11, 1966. In this work, John Singer Sargent's realistic portrait of Mrs. George Swinton, which was done in 1897, is contrasted with Pablo Picasso's cubist approach to his portrait of Marie Theresa Walter from the 1930’s. It is interesting and astonishing to see the juxtaposition of a Sargent and Picasso placed side by side and how much these paintings look like the real ones.. A woman and her young daughter gaze at Sargent’s grand portrait with elaborate gilded framing as a young woman with an artist’s notepad looks at the Picasso painting. A shift in culture and society can be detected in this one painting. The woman in front of Sargent’s painting has her hair wrapped in rollers covered by a sheer scarf, is wearing her overcoat, nylons, and heels. Her daughter matches her mother with her hair wrapped in curlers, holding her doll, wearing her overcoat and both peer up at this ideal portrayal of grace and beauty from an age long passed. The young woman wears jeans, flat boots, and a black sweater with her leather jacket in hand. Her hair hangs loose around her shoulders and she stands at ease as she looks at Picasso’s cubist take on a woman’s portrait. Rockwell’s process for each of his paintings was a very calculated and planned out one. He worked with live models, took photographs, created sketches based on those photographs, made color sketches, then painted the final oil painting with as much meticulous detail as he could. His mastery can be seen in this painting as we see how accurately he was able to paint a copy of Sargent’s work and then turn around a create his own Picasso featuring one of Picasso’s favorite featured subjects, Marie Theresa Walter.

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