Written by Ellis Ian Fields

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

image for Norman Rockwell's America - Dulwich Picture Gallery Review Art. (Oh... yes... use the bloody Monet again.)

Norman Rockwell is perhaps America's best-loved artist of the twentieth century, wittily illustrating ordinary and fictional Americans - not least on his famous covers for the Saturday Evening Post.

We sent our art historian and critic Proserpine Gainsborough-Halfwit to Dulwich to run an eye over this first UK exhibition of his original work...

Don't make me laugh!

Traipse out to bloody Dulwich? You have to get an overground train (!) and then walk for simply miles to get to the place. (This place is really mean about taxi fares.)

I was actually dragged out there once. "There are some nice pictures there." Yeah, there are...

Like a Charles Lebrun which you have to negotiate your way round the bloody Gallery Friends' desk to get a look at. Or you did when I went. Rubens, Van Dyke, Poussin, Lorraine - OK. OK. But what is it with these out-of-town locations?

Best part of the day (after another trek) was visiting an old-fashioned sweet shop and buying up their stock. But you can do that in Covent Garden - or online!

Anyway, darlings, I was in Washington DC this summer (for research) and quite by accident caught an exhibition of Rockwell based on the collections of movie giants Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

The Sting - that movie with Paul Newman and Robert Redford with all the ragtime music - is what it reminded me of. It's those magazine covers, you see... the titles are based on those.

But what I wondered about was how these two movie types get their collections together without trying to punch eachother's lights out.

I mean, Rockwells at auction - can you imagine these two bidding against eachother with their share of this year's rights from Star Wars or Indiana Jones? Could get out of hand couldn't it?

They're probably not worth that much, but you get the picture.

And what happens when one loses? Do they square up in the car park afterwards? I stood looking at a picture of some kid with a baseball bat wondering about that for minutes.

It has to be granted that these works demonstrate terrific draughtmanship and wonderful imagination. The question often asked about Rockwell, though, is "is it art?" Was he just an excellent illustrator - and isn't that an art, too? (Or so it says in a book I read at college).

That's something you have to decide for yourself, of course. If you can be arsed to drag yourself all the way out to Dulwich in this weather!

(For heaven's sake - the daft bint doesn't realise I read her stuff! We wish to make it clear that Ms Gainsborough-Halfwits opinions are not necessarily those of EIF News & Features, or, indeed, TheSpoof. We think the Dulwich is a fine gallery and well worth the journey. Ed.)

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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