After being sold during a record-setting auction of the artist’s work at Sotheby’s in December, Norman Rockwell’s popular painting “The Gossip” will be on view at the Norman Rockwell Museum for a limited time.
Created by Rockwell for the March 6, 1948 cover of “The Saturday Evening Post,” the original painting was previously on loan to the Museum for over two decades before being put up at auction.
Norman Rockwell Museum Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt states in the recent press release: “We are so happy to welcome back ‘The Gossips’…The Museum is extremely grateful to the painting’s new owner for allowing us to once again share this beloved work with the public. We look forward to displaying the painting over the next few months, along with other special loans and our permanent collection of Norman Rockwell artwork.”
The press release also shares with us the story behind “The Gossip” : “Painted in 1948, Rockwell had the idea for “The Gossips” 20 years earlier but couldn’t quite get the ending until he thought to picture himself as the subject of the gossips’ circle; he used his neighbors in Arlington, Vermont as the other figures in the painting. Thousands of letters were sent to “The Saturday Evening Post” asking what the gossip was they were passing along, but an answer was never given. In an interview in December of 1948, Rockwell remembered that the woman who posed for the first lady in the picture, the one who had started the gossip, was still a little upset at her portrayal. Not all of his subjects were critical: one model told a reporter, “It’s more fun posing for him than going to the movies. Norman keeps you in stitches with his funny stories.”