Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

Study for 'Portrait of Nehru'

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Study for 'Portrait of Nehru'
signed and inscribed 'Norman/Rockwell/New Delhi' (lower right)
oil on paper laid down on board
9¾ x 11 in. (24.8 x 27.9 cm.), sight
Painted in 1962.
Private collection, friend of the artist.
By descent to the present owner.
L.N. Moffatt, Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, vol. II, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1986, pp. 238-39, no. C507a, illustrated (as Portrait of Nehru).

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Lot Essay

Greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, aimed to build a unified India by bringing autonomy to his people and championing democratic ideals. During his tenure, he carried India into the modern age of scientific innovation despite ethnic and religious diversity, and promoted an atmosphere of social concern for the marginalized and poor. Two of his descendants, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, would follow in his footsteps and also serve as Prime Ministers.

During the 1960s, Norman Rockwell traveled around the world completing various assignments. In addition to his visit to India to paint Nehru, Rockwell's international travels also included visits to Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Soviet Union. He also found himself exploring America as well with trips to Hollywood, California, Houston, Texas, and Cape Canaveral, Florida. "Rockwell's new assignments gave him the opportunity to paint more controversial subjects, political and social themes that were of current importance to the American public: desegregation of the schools, the Peace Corps, Civil Rights, the War on Poverty, the United Nations. No doubt Molly Rockwell [the artist's wife] contributed greatly to his sensibility in these areas, encouraging him to portray his humanitarianism in a format that would have the greatest impact on the American public." (S.E. Meyer, Norman Rockwell's People, New York, 1981, p. 193)

The present work is a study for the cover of the January 19, 1963 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

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