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'American Mirror' explores artist Norman Rockwell's contradictions





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The creator of those iconic Saturday Evening Post covers exalting an idealized America was no main street simpleton. In her latest biography, Deborah Solomon reveals the man behind the picturesque facades—Norman Rockwell the high-school dropout, the twice-divorced alcoholic, the Vietnam war opponent and tortured artist.

Rockwell’s life was utterly dissimilar from his homespun illustrations. Inadequacy and self doubt? Repressed homosexuality? Certainly not the essence of Rockwell’s mass appeal magazine covers and Boy Scouts visuals. In “American Mirror,” Solomon seeks to illuminate Rockwell’s art by reexamining his persona.

Guest:   

Deborah Solomon, Author, “American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, March 2013); WNYC Radio art critic, New York Times contributor