Rockwell's Life and Work

Nov 7, 2013

Norman Rockwell is often remembered for his idealized portraits of American life, but Deborah Solomon contends that Rockwell’s paintings concealed a personal world of self doubt, depression, and loneliness.

We talk with Deborah Solomon, author of American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell about the artist and the time he spent living and working in Arlington, VT.

Also on the program, David Bradbury, president of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, talks about Vermont college students who are testing their entrepreneurial skills by starting up their own enterprises.

Update, Dec. 5, 2013:

The Norman Rockwell Family Agency this week released a statement criticizing Deborah Solomon's conclusions in "American Mirror." The statement reads:

"Ms. Solomon's book does not give a scholarly or factual account of Norman Rockwell's life and work. Rather she concocts a fictionalized life. In doing so, she attempts to falsify all that the Family and the world know about him. In unfounded claims of homosexuality, Ms. Solomon obsessively attempts to demonstrate her "logical" evolution to pedophilia with not a shred of evidence apart from her unsupportable conjectures. She consistently pretends to know how Norman Rockwell "felt" and what "impulses" he harbored when there is no basis for such speculation, in her book or elsewhere.

"The Rockwell Family fully cooperated with Ms. Solomon with complete transparency and trust in her quest to create the authoritative work on Norman Rockwell. Chronologically and factually, she seriously misinterprets, omits important material, makes many factual errors, and fictionalizes incidents. She noted in an online Wall Street Journal interview that she had been given a "treasure trove" of psychiatric records. In fact the Family shared with her only three short letters.

"Ms. Solomon's conclusions demand scrutiny. The Family now feels that her purpose in befriending us and writing this fictionalized account was publicity, financial gain and self-aggrandizement. We cannot allow totally unsupported allegations about Norman Rockwell with no supporting factual backup to live into perpetuity without correcting the record. We have no wish to interfere with Ms. Solomon's free speech right, but we must exercise our own to note that she has exercised her right irresponsibly."