Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rockwell Retrospective Opens in U.S. Capital

WASHINGTON -- A retrospective on Norman Rockwell's classic and sometimes sentimental depictions of American life in the 20th century opens Saturday in the U.S. capital.

While Rockwell's prolific career spanned more than 60 years and some 4,000 images, the exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art features his more famous works, those which have become part of the American consciousness because of the humor, joy, national pride and pathos they convey.

"He has just always been synonymous with patriotism, and it's important to make that connection here," said Anne Knutson, guest curator from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

The exhibit, "Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People," features more than 70 of his indelible oil paintings and all 322 of the covers he created over his 47-year career with the popular American magazine, the Saturday Evening Post.

During much of his lifetime, art critics generally regarded Rockwell as lowbrow f an illustrator rather than an artist. But the Corcoran show is a celebration of Rockwell as artist and storyteller.

"Rockwell's unique gift was to celebrate the extraordinary in the commonplace and to see that which we might not pause to notice ourselves," said Laurie Norton Moffat, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

The exhibit includes preliminary sketches, photographs, color studies and detailed drawings, so it's possible to see some of his works in progress. The paintings were drawn from both private collections and the permanent collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Rockwell has been credited with forging a sense of American identity and creating an artistic salute to small-town life.