It has been a few weeks since the debut of the NMAI and AIG-organized traveling exhibition Norman Rockwell's America...In England at London's Dulwich Picture Gallery
(oldest art museum in the UK), and the response from the British public and art press has been overwhelmingly positive. While taking place during London's most intense bout of snowy weather in years, the exhibition drew record-setting attendance at its December 15th premiere. High attendance figures have continued since the debut, with Dulwich staff reporting not only "people queuing to get in" to the exhibition, but also "queuing to get into the [gift] shop!"
The exhibition premiere was scheduled as part of Dulwich's 200th Anniversary celebration (1811 - 2011). It is the first exhibition of Rockwell's work in the UK. For an American artist to be exhibited alongside Dulwich's world-renowned Old Masters collection including Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Canaletto and other notables is a great honor and an historic milestone. It is emblematic of the global recognition of American illustration and its cultural and artistic merits.
The exhibition was listed by BBC History Magazine as one of the "Ten things to do in December", and has received many glowing reviews. It was placed on the Sunday Times Critical List of cultural events as this year's "must see", alongside other exhibitions on Gauguin, Thomas Lawrence, and Vermeer. The Telegraph described Rockwell's Post cover illustrations when viewed collectively as "a monumental installation about America's changing view of itself over the course of the 20th century."
The Arts Desk described the exhibition thusly: "...a supremely accomplished draughtsman... unfailingly technically impressive and a master at conveying expression."
Norman Rockwell's America...In England includes 40 original Rockwell paintings, as well as all of his 323 vintage Saturday Evening Post covers. The exhibition remains on display at Dulwich until March 27, and returns to the NMAI on Memorial Day weekend for viewing by American audiences during Summer 2011.
A softcover edition of the same title accompanies the exhibition. This, along with another softcover edition - Norman Rockwell and his Mentor: J.C. Leyendecker - are on sale in the NMAI museum shop. Call or visit the NMAI to purchase your copies!