Mother's Day Annual Series After the Party

Mother's Day Annual Series - After the Party - 1981 by Norman Rockwell. Knowles China Company. Sixth plate in the series. Plate size approx 8.5 inches. Suggested Retail $55.00

t has been said that Norman Rockwell was uncom-
fortable when it came to depicting the feelings of women and especially their feelings toward each other. I don't think this is true.

What is true is that he did it only rarely and, I believe, it required him to work harder. But when he did—as in his exquisite -After the Party- — he was unsurpassed. Nowhere are these special feelings better expressed, even by the women painters of our century.

The young lady in Rockwell's work has just come home from a party and has rushed into the sitting room to describe it all to the one person she trusts most in the world and who understands her better than anyone else —her mother.

Their hands tenderly clasped, gazing into one another's eyes, the loving pair, as Rockwell has us imagine, goes over detail after detail.

I can almost hear the girl exclaiming. -What an evening! What a party! What fun I had!- And almost as if her mother were remembering a similar party—and a similar talk with her mother— many years ago, a knowing smile comes to her lips.

The unforgettable essence of this tender moment is now captured for us all in the 1981 Rockwell Society of America Mother's Day plate. And to my knowledge this is the only edition to date of Rockwell's -After the Party- since it appeared in the Ladies' Home Journal in 1922.

Although Rockwell was still in his early -Victorian- period, already the sharp human insights and realism that were to become his artistic signature are apparent. Warm ochres, browns, and yellows create a sense of intimacy and warmth throughout the composition. Rockwell's brushstrokes are smooth. blending together to create the style of heightened realism he later perfected and that permeates the scene: the soh folds in the girl's party dress, the work-roughened yet gentle hands of the mother.

No detail is overlooked. The mother wears a gray dress with cuffs and collar of white lace and sits in an old-fashioned leather arm chair. Her daughter rests on the footstool at her feet. her coat still draped about her arms. In her pointed shoes with high heels, she is the personification of the fashionable young lady. And her bobbed hair — the -outrageous- mode of the Roaring Twenties — contrasts strikingly with her mother's silver hair that has been carefully brushed and pinned into place.

A generation gap? Not at all. Purposefully framed and united by the strong glow of the lamp. mother and daughter are doubly joined by their clasped hands. For the moment there is no outside world. The tenderness and caring in the mother's eyes and in the loving grasp with which she holds her daughter's hands within her own: these make unmistakable her love and her understanding, and the trust and admiration they have for one another.

More than a limited-edition collector's plate, -After the Party- is a vivid and powerful statement— powerful in its insight because of the man who painted it. Not only is it a tribute to motherhood; it is a tribute to the sensitivity to the subject that could only come from the genius of Norman Rockwell himself—America's foremost artist.
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