Rockwell observes the occupations in the small town, the empathy between the characters, the sometimes excessive or gently caricatural emotions aroused by the multitude of situations in everyday life. He lives since 1939 in Arlington, Vermont, where his neighbors like to serve as his role models. His war illustrations are patriotic but he does not venture into politics, contrasting with the often more committed opinions of the newspaper.
A scene by Rockwell must narrate the whole theme in one picture and the simplicity of the story masks the complexity of the composition. The long process of creation begins by assembling selected photographs. After the sketches, he often makes several preparatory paintings and it is sometimes difficult to identify now which had been the final art for the edition.
His fun is poor and fortunately scarce. The dog sitting in the middle of a narrow street in which he blocks the traffic is distressing. Painted in 1949, Road block was sold for $ 4.7M including premium by Sotheby's on May 18, 2016.
On May 23 in New York, Sotheby's sells Two Plumbers, oil on canvas 100 x 94 cm, lot 42 estimated $ 5M. This picture made the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on June 2, 1951.
In a bourgeois apartment, two plumbers have finished their work. The chief, recognizable by the fact that he has a notebook in his pocket, found a bottle of perfume from which he sprays onto his fellow who holds the tools. A Pekingese dog huddled behind a wastebasket shows his disapproval.
The chief thinks himself clever and his workman smiles stupidly. The dirt on the hands and overclothes of a plumber after the completion of his task is inevitable and is not laughable. This derision of a workman to amuse the post-war petty bourgeoisie would scarcely be acceptable today.
SOLD for $ 15M including premium