Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rockwell/Socialist Realism: A Photo Essay

"Norman Rockwell's paintings are not so different in their style from Socialist Realism, or even in the kind of people and situations they depict; they've often been used as Americanist propaganda. The difference between what might be called 'bourgeois realism' and Socialist Realism is not the manner, or even always the matter, it's the address of the artist. Consider this [Rockwell] painting (via) of a schoolroom back in the USSR:"

--Duncan Mitchel; see also


frankwilliamsru said...

An undeniable parallel in art history. Not to mention all the WPA artist's work of the early years of his career.
Rockwell was the most significant and enduring of course. His was a pure sense of the human need to express pride in place of origin. In his work you feel the patriotism of the man who created it!
Right or wrong, zealot or commercial artist, his was a unique genius with an uncanny ability to capture and celebrate positive human emotion.
A real magician who could even provoke you to see good in Richard Nixon. Good choice for a final image!

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Steve said...
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willy said...
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Natalie said...

It's not a justifiable comparison but a misleading comparison. LL social realism artist are alike in a way; Russian/ Soviet impressionist artist and Western impressionist artist are extremely alike; all realism style official portraits are alike AND all advertisement and poster artists , including political propaganda OR patriotic posters artists used the same tools.
The Q-n remains: what did they create using those same tools.
Rockwell can be compared to Soviet propaganda artists in the same way ANY political/patriotic poster artist can be compared to them (look at French Chinese, Nazi or American propaganda WAR posters). This is not justifiable comparison of Soviet artists with Rockwell.
The only justifiable level of comparison of Rockwell's oeuvre with Soviet sitarists' works can be his genre paintings (covers), where he IS comparable in a very interesting and even fascinating way. But this comparison is very limited to a limited number of Soviet works, indeed, contrary to a vulgar trend of comparing Rockwell's art as a whole to Soviet Socialist-Realism artists as a whole.