Rockwell’s Arlington Models Reunion

by Susan Strano

During Bennington Arts Weekend (August 1-3), models who posed for Norman Rockwell while he lived in Arlington, Vermont (1939-1953) will gather at the Bennington Museum for their annual reunion. Taking place on Saturday, August 2, this event is free to all Bennington County residents and open to the general public with regular admission. The reunion brings together many of the over 60 models who posed for Rockwell during the Arlington years. The day includes an introduction by Jamie Franklin, curator at the Bennington Museum, sessions with models who will share their experiences, and a presentation by Matthew Miele, Founder/President of Quixotic Endeavors Film Company who talks about his upcoming film entitled “Our Neighbor, Norman,” based on the book, The Unknown Rockwell, by Buddy Edgerton and Nan O’Brien.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Rockwell’s move to Arlington, VT where he made his home until his move to Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1953. By 1939, Rockwell was an accomplished artist and illustrator, acknowledged as one of Americas most recognized illustrators for the Saturday Evening Post. However, it was his time in Arlington that was his most prolific. According to Rockwell, one reason he liked Arlington was that it “swarms with American types. I’m very comfortable with the local people.”

While in Arlington, Rockwell painted some of his most famous Saturday Evening Post covers including The Marble Shooter, The Babysitter, The Four Freedoms, Coming and Going, Shuffleton’s Barber Shop, The Gossip, Saying Grace, and “the Four Freedoms.” His last painting in Arlington was Breaking Home Ties. (Completed in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.)

Some of the models expected to attend this year’s reunion include Ruth McLenithan Skellie, Marble Shooter; Melinda Pelham and Lucille Towne Holton, The Babysitter; Mary Doyle Keefe, Rosie the Riveter; Mary Whalen Leonard, A Day in the Life of a Girl; Chuck Marsh, A Day in the Life of a Boy; Ann Brush Mason, Family Doctor; Clarence Decker, Going and Coming; Donald Hubert, Saying Grace; and Buddy Edgerton, Growth of a Leader.

Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main Street, Bennington. VT. Visit the www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.

Photos Courtesy of Buddy Edgerton.

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