Purchased from the artist by Freeman E. Hertzel, uncle of Anne Blackman; gift to the museum from Anne and Sidney Blackman through Carol Smithwick
Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)
Norman Rockwell's Love Song, which was reproduced as an illustration in the December 1926 issue of Ladies Home Journal, presents one of this popular artist's major themes: youth contrasted with old age. A young girl listens wistfully as two elderly men play the flute and the clarinet. Leaning against the metronome is a music sheet indicating the tune's-and the painting's-title, "The Love Song." Rockwell, an avid collector of antique maps, added an old map to the scene, enhancing its quaint setting.
Rockwell was born in New York City and trained at the Chase School of Art, the National Academy of Design, and the Art Students League. In 1910, he set up a studio in New Rochelle, New York, the home of such famous illustrators as J.C. Leyendecker and his brother Frank, and Howard Chandler Christy. Rockwell was a young man of thirty-two when he was commissioned to paint The Love Song, yet he had already been designing cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post for a decade. Between 1916 and 1961, Rockwell illustrated more than three hundred covers for that magazine alone. He produced some of the most recognizable images in American art, always treating his subjects-"average" Americans in everyday situations-with warmth and humor. In his later years, Rockwell became more political. His 1965 illustration The Problem We All Live With dealt with segregated education in the United States.
Maybe . . . I unconsciously decided that, even if it wasn't an ideal world, it should be and so [I] painted only the ideal aspects of it. -Norman Rockwell, 1960
The Love Song presents one of Rockwell's major themes, the different stages of life. A young girl wistfully listens to music played by two elderly men. The painting's title is printed on the music sheet.
An old map may suggest where the scene takes place and also recalls the image-within-an-image process Rockwell often used in his works.
Rockwell, America's premier illustrator, created more than 300 covers for the popular magazine TheSaturday Evening Post, capturing with warmth and humor his idealized vision of the everyday lives of Americans.