Summer 2015 at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, SC, continues the Museum’s tradition of presenting family-friendly exhibits featuring popular artists’ work along with interactive activities for visitors of all ages.
Norman Rockwell’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn will open on Tuesday, June 9 and will be on exhibit through September 20. Regular gallery hours are from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 – 4 p.m. Sundays.
The exhibit is on loan from the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA, and
features 16 signed limited edition prints gifted by the artist to the Norman Rockwell Museum. The prints are from this quintessentially American artist’s own collection of the illustrations he created to accompany Mark Twain’s famous works for publisher Heritage Press and Limited Editions Club in 1935.
In addition, visitors will enjoy kid-friendly interactive exhibit stations designed and constructed by Coastal Carolina University’s Theatre Department representing key themes from Rockwell and Twain’s work. Wander past the infamous fence that Tom Sawyer was instructed to whitewash as punishment for his wrongdoings. What sort of trinket would you offer Tom in return for you having a turn at whitewashing the fence?
Sit at a vintage school desk and create your own portrait using Rockwell’s style. And put on a costume and hop on Huck and Jim’s wooden raft for a fun family photo. Rockwell is famous for scenes depicting everyday life which he created for The Saturday Evening Post over more than four decades: such iconic American images as Rosie the riveter, ‘Saying Grace’ and the classic Thanksgiving dinner scene from his Four Freedoms series. He also was commissioned to illustrate more than 40 books (among them the two Twain works), as well as his annual contributions to the Boy Scouts’ calendars between 1925 and 1976.
The story behind Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn is just as interesting as the
works. Rockwell traveled to Hannibal, Missouri, Twain’s boyhood town, to find authentic details to include in his work. Twain’s vivid descriptions of character, setting and mood were an inspiration to the illustrator, who considered each of the writer’s scenes to be “complete and perfect to the last detail.”
No previous Twain novel illustrator had ever visited Hannibal. To Rockwell’s surprise and delight, the town hadn’t changed much since Twain was a boy; and he soon learned that Twain’s fictional village of St. Petersburg was modeled after it, right down to the houses, church, school and geographical landmarks from the books. Rockwell not only made numerous sketches of these landmarks. He even went so far as to buy the clothes right off of Hannibal residents’ backs, so as to insure authenticity in his illustrations.
What made Rockwell and Twain’s artistic collaboration so successful was the relatability of their work to the American audience. Neither Rockwell nor Twain were considered luminaries of their times. Rockwell was referred to as an illustrator more than as a talented painter, while Twain was seen as more of a humorist than a serious author. But their works appealed to the masses: Twain’s books were sold door-to-door by subscription, and Rockwell’s paintings were printed on magazine covers and ads that could be bought at the supermarket.
Norman Rockwell’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn has been organized by the
Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. For information on the Art Museum’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn inspired KidsArt summer programming, call the Art Museum at (843) 238-2510.
The Myrtle Beach exhibition is generously sponsored by Burroughs & Chapin Company, Inc., Canfor, The Chapin Foundation and South Atlantic Bank.
Admission to the Art Museum is free at all times, but donations are welcomed.