Norman Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894. He left high school to attend classes at the National Academy of Design, and later studied at the Art Students League in New York. His early illustrations were done for St. Nicholas magazine and other juvenile publications. By the age of 22, he achieved the height of success in his field: a commission to create a cover for America's most popular magazine, The Saturday Evening Post. His association with the Post would last another 47 years, and over 300 more covers. Year after year, Rockwell's pictures chronicled the introduction of radio and television, automobile and airplane travel, and even flights to the moon.
During the Second World War, Rockwell painted the famous 'Four Freedoms' posters, symbolizing for millions the war aims as described by President Franklin Roosevelt. One version of his "Freedom of Speech" painting is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
At age 70, Rockwell made some surprisingly hard-hitting pictures addressing the Civil Rights struggle. In the 1970s, he took steps to preserve his legacy, leaving his works and the contents of his studio to a museum in his home town, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
In 1977, Rockwell received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his 'vivid and affectionate portraits of our country'.
Norman Rockwell died peacefully at his home in Stockbridge on November 8, 1978, at the age of 84.