Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Norman Rockwell’s “Downhill Darling” - Indianapolis Museum of Art, American Gallery – Aug. 6, 2003 – 2 stars

This is not the young love "Downhill Daring" image of a boy, a girl and dog sledding down a hill as popularized by the obscenely mass licensed poster art that can be purchased on the Internet for as little as three dollars. This is another one ... of a bunch of brighteyed boys sledding. On loan to the museum from the Saturday Evening Post Society this illustrated painting was the cover image for an issue of The Country Gentleman magazine in 1919. Rockwell, of course, did hundreds of magazine covers for the Saturday Evening Post, his first in 1916. It's a typical apple pie narrative piece with the prominent vocal point being the blue-eyed, rosy cheeked, boys framed in a solid block of white like an illustration cell. Opposite this painting sits "Love Song," an expressionistically dappled piece of Rockwell's minus the obvious for-production elements, earning it a rightful place in the American Gallery. Through Dec. 2003; 317-923-1331. – Mary Lee Pappas

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