26 May 1999
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Comfort in Safety
signed 'Norman Rockwell' lower right
oil on canvas
27 x 22 in. (68.6 x 55.9 cm.)
Raybestos Company, commission of the artist.
By descent in the family to the present owner.
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Saturday Evening Post, January 12, 1924, p. 113
L.N. Moffat, Norman Rockwell: A Definitive Catalogue, Volume II, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1986, no. A685, pp. 512-513, illustrated
Norman Rockwell's tremendous success as an artist is defined by his ability to encapsulate the tradition and near universally shared values of American life in a single image. Comfort in Safety captures with simplicity and clarity two cherished elements of the ebullient 1920s - the happy couple, and the automobile.
Then, as perhaps still today, the automobile suggested a novel kind of freedom and adventure. In this painting, Rockwell wistfully contrasts the young driver's confident smile with the young woman's caution and concern, while also extolling the advantages of a reliable car, hence the title.
In the back seat, leaning into the breeze, the family dog completes the picture of a delightful excursion on a brilliant summer's day.
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